News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s Waste Management Reform Measure Headed for June Ballot

Measure for June 2022 ballot would designate the City Controller as the Refuse Rate Administrator and improve accountability and transparency of rate-setting process

San Francisco, CA — Today, the Board of Supervisors will vote to approve Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s ballot measure to improve accountability and oversight over the City’s waste management rate setting process. With all 11 members of the Board of Supervisors signed on as co-sponsors, the measure is set to be placed on the June 2022 ballot. The Board will vote on the measure today at 2:00 p.m.

The measure would establish the City Controller as Refuse Rate Administrator, requiring them to monitor City Refuse expenses, revenues, and rates. The measure would also replace the City Controller with a ratepayer advocate on the Refuse Rate Board, removing any conflicts of interest stemming from their role as the Rate Administrator. This measure grew out of a working group organized by the Controller and co-chaired by the Mayor’s Office and Supervisor Peskin, to bring transparency, accountability, and oversight to how the City sets its garbage collection rates.

“These reforms are an important step in bringing transparency and accountability to our rate setting process,” said Mayor Breed. “We can’t have a system that is open to abuse that harms our residents and our rate-payers, and I want to thank our Controller and Supervisor Peskin for working collaboratively to come up with these reforms. They will strengthen trust in government, and create more clarity for everyone involved in this important process.”

“As recent and reoccurring revelations of rate-payer overcharging from the Controller’s office have reaffirmed, we are long overdue to reform our refuse rate setting process,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “Our residents and our rate-payers deserve accountable and transparent regulatory processes, particularly if we are still going to keep the existing monopoly for the time being. This has been a long negotiating process, but I’m confident we have secured the best possible outcome for San Franciscans.”

Under the current structure of the 1932 Refuse Collection and Disposal Initiative Ordinance, the City has limited ability to address changes to the Refuse Rate system without going to the voters. This ballot measure would allow amendments to be made to the current law upon recommendation of the Refuse Rate Administrator and with the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s approval. In addition to providing greater transparency, the measure would set a more inclusive role for the Commission on the Environment to monitor environmental goals and address environmental performance standards related to the rate-setting process.

Importantly, the measure would establish a Refuse Rate Group within the City Controller’s Office to administer the rate-setting process and monitor the performance of San Francisco’s residential refuse provider. The measure establishes four principles by which the Refuse Rate Administrator and the Refuse Rate Group will be guided by:

  • Services should be cost-effective and meet performance and environmental goals;
  • Rate structure should to encourage reasonable and fair rates;
  • Process to set rates should be transparent and accountable; and
  • All work should be done with high professional and ethical standards.

Historically, the role of ratepayer advocates has been limited throughout the refuse rate-setting process, functioning as a more informational role. By replacing the City Controller with an appointed community member, the Refuse Rate Board will better represent San Francisco residents. Additionally, the measure would require the Refuse Rate Administrator to report proposed rate adjustment recommendations to the Refuse Rate Board, enhancing accountability and transparency. As a result, this would provide the Rate Board with greater approval and oversight authority regarding future rate change decisions.