Jim Brannon from Cardinal Glass, State Farm agent Rachelle Herendeen and Bonnie Rodriguez, president of the Galt District Chamber of Commerce, brought more concerns over the business trash rate hikes during the public comment portion of the Aug. 20 City Council meeting.

Brannon said the additional $45,000 that he will pay for trash pickup would cost his company one and a half jobs this year alone. He told council they had better consider what this would do to small businesses and the entire community of Galt. He also suggested the city find ways to recycle refuse to bring money into the city.

“What worries me is that Galt could become a bedroom community where people can live but they can’t make a living,” Brannon said. “When people see little restaurants that close, shops that close because they can’t afford the trash bill, you lose something very viable that makes it a nice place to live.”

Brannon said people would have to shop elsewhere.

“So there goes your tax dollars,” Brannon said.

Finding ways to recycle plastics might be an answer, according to Brannon, to eliminate them in landfills, and using the recycled product as an additive in asphalt.

“Somewhere in that garbage is a gold mine that hasn’t been tapped,” he said. “Businesses vote in a different way. They come and they go, taking jobs with them.”

Herendeen asked council to find an answer to the huge trash rate hikes or more businesses will be closing their doors. She said it has already affected her business, so helping out with sponsorships becomes more difficult.

“Mirror, Mirror said they’ll be closing Oct. 1,” Herendeen said. “It will be the first small business going out because of the trash issue.”

Rodriguez said she had learned of a light industrial owner who had planned to buy in the Industrial Park but backed out. She also told council of what she learned while visiting businesses with CalRecycle and Public Works Director Michael Selling.

“Cal-Waste has failed,” Rodriguez said. “They were supposed to have discussions with all the businesses. What I learned is that they came to get the contract signed.”

The trash issue has just begun to cost the city businesses and jobs, according to Rodriguez.

“We had a light industrial owner ready to come in and purchase property in the Industrial area,” Rodriguez said. “They would have brought in 100 jobs … people who would have eaten at our restaurants and shopped at our stores. They backed out. They looked into the garbage issue and said ‘no’. We’re turning away businesses with this contract. We’re losing businesses to save one business in town. Don’t get me wrong, Cal-Waste has given back to this community. All the good does not take away from the bad.”

Rodriguez also pointed out the city ordinance that prohibits residents and business owners from alternate ways to dispose of trash.

“Because of what they have to do to save their businesses and the city’s ordinances, they’re being made criminals,” Rodriguez said. “They’re choosing to self-haul their own garbage or hire someone else.”

Galt Police Department will be responsible for addressing the infractions of the city’s trash ordinance that makes it illegal to use any service other than Cal-Waste, according to Rodriguez.

Under the consent calendar, staff asked for authorization to use regular consultants without having to go to council for approval if the cost was under $30,000. Twenty-one consulting firms were on the list for approval. Vice Mayor Shawn Farmer asked for the item to be pulled for discussion. He asked for clarification from Selling.

“Basically these (companies) are our stable of consultants from various disciplines,” Selling said. “It’s good to have them on-call so they can respond in a timely manner.”

The item was approved 4-0, with Councilman Rich Lozano absent.

Also pulled by Farmer was the request for authorization for staff to buy a piece of equipment called a telehandler. Selling said a telehandler is a type of forklift that also allows workers and equipment to be lifted with an extension arm. Currently, staff must rent a telehandler when needed, according to Selling who asked for $60,000 to purchase one used.

Planning Director Chris Erias asked council to approve a city application for a state grant.

SB2 was passed by the state senate to spur housing development. The city of Galt has been approved to apply for up to $160,000. Erias’ plans are to use the grant money to amend inconsistent zoning maps, cleanup of maps and development codes for consistency, and amend the city’s general plan.

After Erias’ presentation, the council approved the item 4-0.