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Why are Authority rates higher than District rates?

The Authority’s rates are higher for two major reasons: 1) The Authority has a large debt of $37.5 million which was used to purchase and fix the old landfills that it inherited and to develop landfill capacity, and 2) The Authority provides transfer station services that reduce landfill traffic, which are not provided by Monterey Regional Waste Management District (District). The impact on rates due to these differences is shown below:



Number of landfills 4
Number of closed landfills 3
Number of transfer stations 2
Net annual transfer stations expense $ 1,926,945
Loan debt as of June 30, 2012 $37,475,576
Annual loan payments $ 3,140,120
Solid waste from within service area 165,400 tons
Revenue needed per ton for debt payments $18.99
Revenue needed per ton for transfer stations $11.65

If the Authority had no debt, the tipping fee could be lowered to $47.24 instead for $68.50 per ton. Furthermore, if it did not operate two transfer stations, the tipping fee could be $33.01 per ton. However, the Authority was formed to develop landfill capacity because the valley cities and the County were running out of waste disposal capacity. In taking over the landfills it also assumed the responsibility for maintaining the landfills in an environmentally safe condition which has been an expensive endeavor.

Why the Authority has more debt

The District (formed in 1951) is almost finished paying off its loans, whereas the Authority (formed in 1997) has 19 years left to pay on its loans. The Authority had to borrow $9 million right after being formed in order to develop landfill capacity and to fix existing problems with the landfills. In 2002 it borrowed $39.8 million
to develop more landfill capacity and make regulatory improvements to the landfills. The Authority also used these monies to close Lewis Road Landfill in 2002 and Jolon Road Landfill in 2007, and is now closing Crazy Horse Landfill. None of these landfills had sufficient funds to close them or to repair/install State mandated environmental control systems when they were transferred to the Authority.

The District’s landfill started in 1961 with the purchase of 570 acres to be developed as a landfill, which has been continually improved. Unlike the Authority, the District did not have to fix pre-existing problems, or finance the closure of 3 landfill sites.

Why the Authority has transfer station operations

The Authority operates two transfer stations (Jolon Road outside of King City and Sun Street in Salinas) to consolidate waste and transfer it to Johnson Canyon Landfill outside of Gonzales. Transfer stations are an important part of delivering public services for a large city such as Salinas and for our more rural communities in southern Monterey County. The cost of the transfer stations is included in the disposal tipping fee.

On the Monterey Peninsula, all waste is delivered to the District’s landfill, north of Marina, by the trash collection companies. The cost of delivering the waste to the landfill is included in the trash collection rate.

Why was the Authority formed?

The Authority was formed to ensure landfill disposal capacity for the Salinas Valley cities and the eastern portion of Monterey County. This occurred because Crazy Horse Landfill (1934-2009), owned by the City of Salinas, and Lewis Road Landfill (1947-2002), owned by the County, were near the end of their useful life. Jolon Road Landfill (1977-1997) was leased by the County and was inactive. Johnson Canyon Landfill which opened in 1976, owned by the County, was operating as a small landfill, but was designated in the then current General Plan as a regional landfill. Developing more landfill disposal capacity and ensuring compliance with AB 939 which mandated 50% diversion from landfills would require dedicated staff and be a costly endeavor for any one agency. The County was spending about $2 million in General Fund revenues annually to maintain the County Landfills and wanted to get out of the landfill business. The South County cities would have no landfill disposal capacity if the County shut down its landfills. Thus by consensus of each of the Salinas Valley City Councils and the Board of Supervisors, the Joint Powers Agency (JPA) was started and the Authority was formed on January 1, 1997.

Problems solved by the formation of a JPA

The formation of the Authority relieved the City of Salinas and the County of ever- increasing landfill operating costs and the liability for landfills that were nearing their closure. In the case of Lewis Road, Jolon Road, and Crazy Horse landfills, their closure required millions more than the money that was contributed by the member agencies when the landfills became part of the Authority system. Additionally, none of the landfills had money set-aside for their postclosure maintenance which carries on for a minimum 30 years after closure. The Authority assumed those liabilities, added additional disposal capacity at the Crazy Horse and Johnson Canyon Landfills, implemented programs to promote waste reduction and recycling, and household hazardous waste collection, as well as correcting and improving environmental protection systems. The Authority thus accomplished the purpose for which it was formed. However, in order to accomplish its purpose, the Authority had to borrow substantial amounts, which led to a large portion of its landfill rates to be used to pay for the legacy debt and liabilities that came with the old landfills.

Debt issued to fix problems

The Authority took on the responsibility of 2 landfills (Lewis Road and Crazy Horse) that were nearing capacity, 1 landfill (Jolon Road) that was at 50% capacity and not being used, and one landfill with future capacity (Johnson Canyon). Because these sites were very old, they had many environmental issues that had to be addressed. Therefore, within months of being formed, the Authority issued $9 million in revenue bonds to finance some extensive repairs. In 2002 the Authority issued another $39.8 million in revenue bonds to bring the landfills into full compliance with all regulations. The borrowed funds were also used to construct more landfill disposal capacity at Johnson Canyon and Crazy Horse landfills in accordance with the Authority’s original formation objectives.

What does it mean to have a Future without Landfills?

While the Authority is responsible for managing and overseeing three closed and one open and active landfill in the Salinas Valley, our mission and vision would result in a sustainable long term solution for our region’s waste management needs.

The Authority’s Vision is: to reduce the amount of waste by promoting individual and corporate responsibility, to recover waste for its highest and best use while balancing rates and services, to transform our business from burying waste to utilizing waste as a resource, AND to eliminate the need for landfills.

What does it mean for the Authority?

A future without landfills can mean something different and unique to each of us.

For the Authority it involves exploring alternative processing methods, including new technologies. Also, changing the way we, as a society, perceive waste; not as something you put at your curb each week that “disappears” and is buried in the ground and stored there forever, but rather as a resource. It means:

  • Having a need and a use for every part of every item we consume on a daily basis (or really close to it)
  • Being accountable for the choices we make as consumers when we purchase products
  • Assuring glass, plastics, paper, cardboard, and metal are recycled and then used to create new products
  • Assuring useful items are reused until exhausted
  • Recovering food scraps and yard trimmings to be turned into natural products used to grow more food, nourish gardens, or create new landscaping
  • Assuring any remaining trash is minimal, and that it can be used as a clean
    fuel or energy source, instead of storing it forever in a landfill

What does it mean for the Community?

More jobs. For each job created by putting trash in the landfill, recycling creates eight jobs in local services, processing and production. More jobs contribute to a healthier local economy.

More natural space. Landfills are often located on public land. A future without landfills means public lands can remain a part of our natural environment. Natural wildlife habitat remains intact and old landfills could be repurposed into new uses, like the clean, renewable solar energy project proposed at Crazy Horse Canyon Landfill.

Better health. A physical connection to nature inspires perspective in our lives and reduces stress. Reduced stress is a key to better health. Recycling prevents pollution that is created in the process of manufacturing products from new materials, for cleaner air and water.

Greater independence. Recycling saves natural resources like, water, energy, and fuel. The less we rely on foreign sources for energy and fuel, the more self- sustaining we are as a nation.

Why is the Agency doing business under a new name?

As we continued to promote our services we found that many of our daily customers had difficulty remembering such a long name as Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority, it became even more difficult to remember our acronym “SVSWA”. As a result, many started using the nickname “Authority”, but this sometimes further confused people as the nickname “Authority” did not specify what services we provide. Our new DBA(doing business as) “Salinas Valley Recycles” conveys two simple messages; we serve the Salinas Valley and we offer recycling services to the community.

What about the logo?

Our previous logo did not capture the Agency’s identity created through our vision, mission, and values.  The three chasing arrows evoke reduce-reuse-recycle. The letters in blue signify the international color of recycling.  The color green means conservation of natural resources and the creation of green jobs because of the current and future projects of the Agency.

How can both the new logo and the new name help the Agency?

The combination of a new logo and name will better assist with branding the Agency as a
recycling resource in the community. Our new logo and name reflects our continued direction of promoting a future without landfills.

What will happen to the old name?

The Agency will continue to maintain its legal name: Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority but will do business as Salinas Valley Recycles. The Agency will implement a branding plan to transition over to our new logo and name.

What is the address and hours of operation for the Salinas transfer station?

139 Sun Street
Salinas CA, 93901
Monday – Friday 7am-5pm
Saturday 8am – 4pm

What items do we recycle and rates?

Employment opportunities

Questions about garbage pick up:

Salinas call Republic Services at 775-3840
Monterey call Waste Management at 384-5000
South County Cities cal Tri-Cities at 1-888-678-6798
Prunedale and Watsonville call Waste Management at 384-5000
Medical Waste handling at 1-800-464-4285 located in Monterey

Does SVSWA provide trash pick up?

No, we have self serve drop off facilities in Salinas, Gonzales and King City

What payment forms does SVSWA accept?

Cash, Visa, Checks (must provide picture ID)

Do you payout for recyclables?

No, but we accept most recyclable items at no charge.