The Board of Supervisors Tuesday authorized the imposition of waste collection fees on more than 1,500 property owners in the Anza Valley and Idyllwild areas of Riverside County, despite objections that the fees were being unfairly levied.

The board’s 5-0 vote followed a Department of Environmental Health public hearing that focused on justification for the new fees, which agency Director Keith Jones said were necessary to cover increasing county costs to service Franchise Area 8 of the waste collection system. It comprises multiple locations adjacent to and within the San Bernardino National Forest.

Many of the property owners do not receive trash pickup and disposal services because they’re in remote, hard-to-reach spots, Jones said. Instead, they are permitted to dump their rubbish in any of a half dozen community disposal sites, also known as transfer stations.

Jones said about 20 residents filed written protests against the proposed fees, and more than 100 letters notifying property owners of the public hearing regarding the fees were returned as undeliverable.

“I’ve been disposing of my own trash for years, and now they want me to pay $400-some-odd per year for trash,” Anza resident Linda Donaho told the board. “I’m already paying for a community bin for me and my neighbors. I don’t need this.”

She also objected to the Department of Environmental Health including one of her parcels with no structures on it as the basis for imposing the new fees.

Jones acknowledged that the fees can only be applied where habitable structures exist, and he told the board the agency would investigate Donaho’s case and any similar ones that arise.

Anza-area resident Gary Worobec challenged the fairness of the fees, saying illegal cannabis growers are the irresponsible parties overfilling transfer stations with discarded irrigation devices and hardware, increasing loads that CR&R Inc., the regional waste hauler, is having to retrieve and take to landfills.

The Anza Valley has been the epicenter of numerous sheriff’s operations destroying illegal grows.

Supervisor Chuck Washington, whose Third District covers the franchise area, said the fees were necessary to ensure some property owners were not being carried by the roughly 6,000 others already paying into the rubbish collection system.

Residents will not be billed until after the start of the next fiscal year, in July. Most rate-payers will owe about $196 for 12 months of service, according to the Department of Environmental Health.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.