SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a contract with Keith Day Company, Inc. to haul and process the county’s yard and wood waste.
The Salinas-based company will process approximately 40,000 tons of yard waste from Santa Cruz County annually.
The county will pay about $1.3 million for Keith Day’s services, compared to $1.14 million for Vision Recycling.
The decision also meant that the county will not renew the contract for Vision Recycling, which has processed the waste for more than 22 years, and sold 12 mulch and compost products to county residents.
But the decision came of what county officials said is a spotty safety and environmental record, and an inability of Vision Recycling to comply with county requirements.
Santa Cruz County Assistant Director of Public Works Colt Esenwein said the decision was also based on the need to move the yard and wood waste operations away from Buena Vista Landfill.
“We cannot allow the current operation to continue because of environmental and safety concerns,” he said.
County officials point to a Sept. 26 fire at the Buena Vista Landfill where Vision had a pile of composting material.
Vision Recycling’s 19 employees will all keep their jobs, Keith Day Company, Inc. owner Keith Day said.
Many speakers pleaded with the supervisors to keep the services of Vision Recycling.
Ben Bording, a landscaping contractor from Cool Earth Gardens, said he has been using the company’s product for 15 years.
“It’s a fabulous, fabulous product,” he said. “If it’s shipped somewhere else, and there are no facilities to buy it, it would ruin everything for me, and I would lose my business because of it.”
Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture President and CEO Shaz Roth said the economic impact of the decision would be “huge” for South County.
Roth added that the company buys more than $272,000 worth of local products, and contributes to local tax revenue. She also said that Vision Recycling employees are known for charitable giving.
“All of this goes away if Vision goes away,” she said. “Abandoning a perfectly good recycling program that pays sales tax in favor of exporting out of the county makes no economic sense.”
Vision Recycling’s contract ends Dec. 31.