Riverside County supervisors Tuesday scheduled a May 21 public hearing to weigh proposed fee increases for trash and recycling collection in unincorporated communities.
According to Department of Environmental Health Director Keith Jones, the four waste haulers under contract with the county — Burrtec Waste, CR&R Inc., Desert Valley Disposal and Waste Management Inc. — are seeking universal 3 percent fee hikes to keep pace with inflation and cover higher landfill expenses.
Additionally, the collectors this year are asking the Board of Supervisors to approve separately categorized fees to process recycling.
Jones characterized all of the adjustments as relatively small, noting the proposed Burrtec hike would be 74 cents, with CR&R asking for a 54-cent per month increase, Desert Valley Disposal an 86-cent increase and Waste Management an additional $1.05 on residential collections.
The board revises refuse-retrieval rates virtually every year.
In 2015, a .7 percent hike became a hotly debated issue after several Mead Valley residents complained that Waste Management was tacking extra charges onto their bills after their properties were designated “hard-to-serve,” even though the homes were not on hillsides or in isolated locations.
Supervisor Kevin Jeffries demanded answers from the company, and after errors were found, Waste Management reclassified more than 750 residences to remove the additional cost burdens.
Waste collection for the county occurs in defined “franchise areas,” which currently number 11 and encompass communities such as Cabazon, Desert Center, East Hemet, Lakeland Village, Thermal and Thousand Palms. Most of the existing franchise agreements have been in place for just over 20 years.
Inflationary adjustments to fees are based on fluctuations in the consumer price index for the Los Angeles metropolitan area between Jan. 1 and Dec. 30, 2018. The majority of residents pay between $21 and $35 per month for service, for which they’re billed quarterly, according to county officials.
The cost for commercial accounts ranges from $74 to $1,900 per month, and businesses would also pay an additional 3 percent in fees, if approved by the board.
According to Jones, the added recycling fees that the haulers want to impose stem from a steep decline in demand for recyclables in the global marketplace, “depressing commodity prices of materials.”
Rubbish collectors are having to process larger volumes of recycled goods that cannot be sold, meaning higher overhead costs, officials said.
To offset these expenses, Burrtec is requesting to levy a $1.44 charge on customers, while CR&R is seeking a 54-cent charge, Desert Valley Valley Disposal an 86-cent fee and Waste Management Inc. a $1.05 fee.
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