Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Department of Public Works



November 16, 2009


December 1, 2009


14-Day Notice of Public Meeting





Honorable Board of Supervisors


James C. Porter, Director of Public Works



Implementation of an AB 939 Fee to Fund the County’s Costs of Preparing, Adopting, and Implementing the Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan



Adopt a resolution approving the imposition and collection of an AB 939 Fee on each ton of solid waste disposed of at landfills within the unincorporated areas of the County.



AB 939, which was passed 20 years ago, required California cities and counties to establish solid waste diversion goals. Over the years, San Mateo County and our cities have established waste diversion programs to help meet the AB 939 goals. These programs have significantly reduced the amount of solid waste disposed of at landfills in the County from over 900,000 tons in 2000 to an anticipated 585,000 tons in 2010. These diversion programs, along with other landfill regulatory programs, are described in the Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan, which is reviewed and updated every five years. The San Mateo County Integrated Waste Management Plan was issued by the C/CAG Local Task Force on October 15, 2009 and will soon be presented to your Board for adoption.



AB 939 allows a city or county to impose fees in amounts sufficient to pay for the preparation, adoption, and implementation of the countywide integrated waste management plan. These fees are generally referred to as AB 939 fees and the funded programs are referred to as AB 939 programs. Historically, the County has funded its AB 939 Programs, which include household hazardous waste, composting, diversion, Green Business, training and workshops, abandoned waste pickup and other programs through a contractual arrangement with the owner/operator of the Ox Mountain landfill.


The contractual arrangement required the owner/operator of the landfill to pay the County $7.02 for each ton of municipal waste disposed at the Ox Mountain landfill. The contract also limited the total tonnage that could be land filled at Ox Mountain in any year, the amount of waste generated outside of San Mateo County that could be disposed of at the Ox Mountain landfill, and the per ton disposal rates charged to customers who used the Ox Mountain landfill. This contract expires December 31, 2009 and will not be renewed.


To provide ongoing funding for the County’s AB 939 programs, staff is recommending the adoption and imposition of an AB 939 Fee. The public notices issued for this meeting indicated that the AB 939 Fee considered at this meeting would be $9.83, effective January 1, 2010. Based on comments received from recipients of the notices, the staff recommendation has been revised. Staff is now recommending adoption of an AB 939 Fee of $7.02 effective January 1, 2010 and $9.83 starting July 1, 2010 for each ton of solid waste land filled within the unincorporated County area. The initial fee would be the same as the current contract fee with Republic (the current landfill owner/operator). During the first six months of 2010, staff would meet with the Ox Mountain customers to explain the AB 939 program funding situation. The $9.83 Fee would include two components, $4.81 per ton the County’s Solid Waste Management and Diversion (SWMD) programs currently implemented by the Department of Public Works and $5.02 per ton for the County’s Household Hazardous Waste and state mandated Local Enforcement Agency (HHW/LEA) programs administered by Environmental Health. The County’s AB 939 Fee would be imposed only within the unincorporated County areas and the Ox Mountain landfill is the only operating landfill in the unincorporated area.


To fully fund the AB 939 programs for the rest of FY 2009/10, in addition to the AB 939 fee revenue, contributions from the General Fund and the Solid Waste Fund reserves would be necessary. Starting in FY 2010/11, the AB 939 fee would fully fund the AB 939 programs. Any lesser AB 939 Fee in FY 2010/11 would require program or service level reductions.


Adoption of the AB 939 Fee contributes to the Shared Vision 2025 of an Environmentally Conscious Community by providing a funding mechanism to support required and successful diversion programs outlined in the San Mateo County Integrated Waste Management Plan.



Setting the AB 939 Fee at $7.02 effective January 1, 2010 is anticipated to generate $2,053,350 from the disposal of 292,500 tons of waste for the first six months of 2010. This revenue will replace the Solid Waste Fund revenue for the AB 939 programs. The amounts of Solid Waste Fund reserves and General Fund support in the adopted FY 2009/10 budget for these programs will not change.


The AB 939 Fee set at $9.83 per ton effective July 1, 2010 will produce an estimated $5,756,000 in revenue for FY 2010/11, which will fully fund the AB 939 programs. No support from the County General Fund or the Solid Waste Fund will be necessary for the AB 939 programs next fiscal year. However, the potential $1.1 million in savings to the General Fund is about equal to the ongoing cost of the non-AB 939 eligible programs currently funded by the Solid Waste Fund, which will be depleted in FY 2012/13.