Utility Rates

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The City of Santa Clara is proposing to increase rates for its water, sewer and solid waste services for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.

  • Water Rates - for the average residential customer using 12 units of water per month, this new rate will result in a maximum increase of $3.24 in the monthly bill.
  • Sewer Rates -Residential customers are charged a flat rate and will see their monthly sewer charge increase a maximum of $1.38 per month.
  • Recycled Water Rates - The amount of the proposed increase will depend on the type of use. Recycled water still offers significant savings over potable water.
  • Solid Waste Rates - The amount of the proposed increase will depend on the service type or level. For residential curbside recycling, there will be an estimated $1.55 increase to monthly charges, beginning in July 2019 with the amended Recology South Bay agreement.

The City issued a notice by U.S. mail to utility customers during the week of April 6, 2019. View proposed rates for FY 2019-2020 for all utility services. 

MTWS res pickup2

About the Proposed Rate Adjustments

Santa Clara’s utility rates are proposed to go up on or after July 1, 2019 due to:

  • Commitment to maintaining high quality services
    • Water and sewer systems must operate 24 hours a day/seven days a week
    • Committed to providing its customers with dependable, safe and cost-effective utility services
    • Critical infrastructure replacement or rehabilitation for water and sewer mains, pump stations, storage tanks, pumps, and wells
    • Reliable collection of garbage, organic waste, and recyclables
    • Capital improvement projects

  • Compliance with existing and new regulations
    • Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Regulations required by SB 1383 to minimize the amount of organic material disposed in landfills
    • AB 1826 requires mandatory organics recycling
    • AB 341 requires mandatory commercial recycling and establishes a statewide recycling rate of 75 percent
    • Continued monitoring and reporting requirements for water quality, water infrastructure security and the sustainability of ongoing water supplies
    • Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) and Sanitary Sewer Management Plan (SSMP) development and implementation
    • Recycled water quality and supply monitoring on a regional basis

  • Rising costs that the City doesn’t control
    • Wholesale water costs
    • Limited markets for recyclables due to the implementation of China’s Sword Policy
    • Contractually obligated cost of living adjustments due to solid waste service providers
    • Implementation of organic waste diversion programs

If the proposed rates are adopted, utility customers can expect to see the new rates reflected in their August bill.

Participate in the Process

There are several ways to provide input about the proposed rate adjustments.

  • Attend a public hearing: The hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at Santa Clara City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. During the meeting, the City Council will consider adopting the proposed rate increases for the Solid Waste Program (Garbage, Clean Green and Recycling) and the Water and Sewer Utilities.

  • To formally protest the proposed increases and you cannot attend the public hearing, you must do so in writing. Protests cannot be accepted via email or telephone. When submitting a written protest, please include your name, your signature, the address of the property for which you are the owner or utility customer, and the rate(s) you are protesting. Written protests can be submitted at any time before the close of the public hearing. Protests must either be mailed or hand-delivered to:
    • City Clerk’s Office – Utility Rate Comments City of Santa Clara 1500 Warburton Ave., Santa Clara, CA 95050

  • For questions, please call one of the utility service phone numbers listed below:
    • Water, Sewer or Recycled Water Rates: 408-615-2000
    • Garbage, Clean Green and Recycling Program Rates: 408-615-3080

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How soon could the new rates for utility customers go into effect?

A: Following a 45-day notice, the City Council will hold a public hearing May 21, 2019 to consider the approval of any utility rate increases. If adopted, the new utility rates will go into effect July 1, 2019. 

Q2: What will my rates be if the City Council approves the rate increases as proposed for solid waste services? A: Please see table below.

Solid Waste Rates

Service Type or Level

Current Rate

Proposed Rate

1 can or small cart (32-gal)*



2 cans or medium cart (64-gal)*



3 cans or large cart (96-gal)*



Super Saver cart (20-gal)*



Additional cans/carts (32-gal)*



Clean-Up Campaign per residence



Household Hazardous Waste



Residential/Commercial/Institutional front-load bin service (monthly rate)


Up to 5.8%

Drop body bulk roll off bin service and compacted container service


Up to 5.8%

Mission Trail Waste Systems special charges (push/pull, extra service, driver time, lock installation and Saturday service)


Up to 4.5%

Recology push/pull service for residential recycling (per foot moved)



Extra Garbage Bag Tags




Q3: Why are prices going up for residential recycling services?

A: The market has significantly changed since the original bid was received in 2008 for these services. The three major drivers of increased service fees are: China’s no longer accepting many recyclable items due its National Sword Policy, commodity prices have dipped with Recology having to pay a forecasted $10/ton in 2019, compared to the original bid estimate of receiving $70/ton for commodities in 2019, and an original bid that was very low in comparison to competitors.

Q4: How do the new proposed rates for service compare with other cities in the Bay Area?

A: Overall, the new proposed rates for residential and commercial solid waste services are among the lowest in the County. 

Q5: What happens if the City Council doesn’t approve the solid waste rate increases?

A: Customer rates would remain at current levels, but the City would still have to pay solid waste service providers the contractually agreed cost of living adjustments specified in the respective agreements. The operating shortfall would be covered by the General Fund, which would reduce services in other sectors. 

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