Audit uncovers dirt on county trash business
As Santa Barbara County begins mulling who will get lucrative trash-hauling contracts in 2011, an audit of the county’s current providers showed that one of them underpaid the county nearly $20,000 and overcharged customers more than $177,000.
County officials aren’t yet hinting whether the errors they found could mean a shake-up for the three companies that have enjoyed contracts for the county’s incorporated areas since 1997. The franchise agreements are big money, and competition among haulers is fierce.
Santa Barbara-based MarBorg Industries pulls in $10 million a year in revenue from unincorporated areas, Waste Management gets $10 million, and Republic Services – formerly known as Allied Waste Services and as Browning-Ferris Industries before that – makes $2 million, said Leslie Wells, program leader with the county’s Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division.