The Riverside County Board of Supervisors Tuesday set a July 7 public hearing to consider whether to impose special assessments totaling $2.86 million on thousands of county residents’ property tax bills to collect unpaid trash collection debts.

According to the Department of Environmental Health, roughly 6,000 residents in unincorporated communities owe the county’s four waste haulers for rubbish pickup and disposal services in 2019. Amounts in arrears range from just over $100 to as much as $9,700 per customer, according to the proposed special assessment roll.

Environmental Health Director Keith Jones requested the public hearing for the Board of Supervisors to approve the assessments, which would be tacked onto delinquent payers’ property tax bills.

“The regular removal of solid waste from residential properties is a basic sanitation practice that protects both the environment and the public,” Jones said. “The mandatory collection of solid waste and the payment for the collection is critical … The property owner has the opportunity to pay or reconcile the delinquent trash collection charges and avoid the assessment.”

The hearing will provide residents a platform to argue, before the board, their cases against assessments, offering specifics about mitigating circumstances, including how the recent public health shutdowns stemming from coronavirus may have impacted their finances.

If the supervisors authorize the special assessments, an additional $74 per parcel charge will be applied to delinquent bills to cover the cost of public noticing and county staff time.

According to officials, residents can avoid the supplemental charge by paying their bills in full on or before July 24.

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