Two items on organic waste reduction at Sebastopol City Council

By Brandon McCapes, Staff Writer, SoCoNews, November 16, 2021

city council preview

Of the eight items to come before the Sebastopol City Council at their regular Nov. 16 meeting, two regard compliance with state organic waste reduction laws (SB 1383). The other six include developing objective design guidelines, pension liability refinancing and a redesign of the city website. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and the full meeting agenda can be found here.

Public hearing

Public hearing on rate adjustment to add compost services from Recology
Council members will discuss delegating several climate-action-related waste disposal services required by state law to Recology Sonoma Marin, which would include rate adjustments passed on to commercial and residential customers. The services would help the City of Sebastopol comply with SB 1383, which requires 75% reduction in organic waste disposal by 2025.

Following the public hearing process, Recology could be approved to conduct the following services, required by SB 1383, and in addition to but distinct from similar waste-reduction measures currently fulfilled by Zero Waste Sonoma and the City of Sebastopol: compost service to nearly all Sebastopol customers, education, outreach and route audit services, and SB 1383 educational materials.

Sebastopol single-family residential customers will face between $0.84 and $4.48 rate increases per month, depending on the volume of waste bins, and multi-family and commercial customers will face between $17.76 and $364.06 monthly increases.

Regular Agenda Items:

Approval of Memorandum of Understanding with Zero Waste Sonoma and Sonoma County jurisdictions
In a second item related to the organic waste reduction law SB 1383, the Sebastopol City Council is expected to approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the County of Sonoma, its eight other cities and the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency (Zero Waste Sonoma).

The agenda packet lists 16 total items needing to be completed by either the city, Zero Waste Sonoma or Recology in order to comply with SB 1383: Zero Waste Sonoma will be responsible for nine of these, in addition to meeting with the City of Sebastopol regularly. The tasks that fall under Zero Waste Sonoma’s purview include providing education and outreach information “about the importance of organics diversion from the landfill,” including information on SB 1383, the monitoring of residents’ and businesses’ compliance with waste policies and to make recommendations to the city regarding enforcement actions.

Approval of Request for Proposals for Consultant to Assist with Design Objective Standards

This item pertains to state legislation that impacts the ability of local jurisdictions like Sebastopol to implement their own adopted discretionary design guidelines and requirements for certain multi-family projects, and as well as for additional units on single-family parcels.

The council will decide whether to approve a request for proposals (RFP) for a consultant to assist the Design Guideline Subcommittee in developing objective design standards that would comply with state requirements. Staff recommends the RFP be sent through the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

This project will be funded alongside other planning projects through state funding (SB2).

Review, Discuss and Approve the work of Pension Liability Refinancing Process (Responsible Department
Because of rising pension costs associated with the city employee retirement plans, as provided to Sebastopol through the public CalPERS program, city staff is recommending the city implement some of the recommendations made by a consultant in 2015.

The recommendations to mitigate future pension costs are: issuing pension obligation bonds (POB), borrowing from the General Fund Reserve, making one-time payment through resolution to address the problem and establishing an Irrevocable Supplemental Pension Trust.

Consideration of Approval of RFP/RFQ Process

Requested by Councilmember Neysa Hinton, the council will review for approval revisions to the city’s purchasing policy. Revisions apply to how the city vets and selects vendors, as well as to the purchasing of goods, services and work.

“The purchasing policy update reflects best practices and fosters maximum open and free competition for city purchases and contracts, promotes economy and efficiency, ensures adherence to proper standards of conduct by city officers and employees, ensures compliance with applicable laws and regulations, establishments and maintains professional, business-like, ethical relationships with contractors (and) treats prospective contractors, consultants and vendors in and equal and equitable manner,” the staff report reads

Discussion of City Council Retreat

The council will consider where and when to hold a retreat, and on which future date.

“Retreats are a powerful management tool for local government leaders to refocus on the mission of a city and develop priorities which are in line with a city’s core values,” the agenda report reads.

RFPs for Website redesign

The license for Sebastopol’s current content management system (CMS), Kentico, which it has used since 2016, is expiring. The council will consider five options to update its website. City staff recommends the city release a request for proposals (RFP) for the redesign. If the city chooses option five, which is to take no option, it could be vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Locals Who Make a Difference Program Update

The Locals who Make a Difference (LWMAD) Subcommittee has recommended council make two modifications to the existing program, which honors area residents who make extraordinary contributions to the Sebastopol community.

The first modification would be to remove a provision that disallows from recognition those who make contributions but who do so as their primary source of income. The other would be to add an annual theme to the program such as was done this year, requiring nominees be associated with a service organization or nonprofit organization.


This article was produced by SoCoNews. See more news at