Litter - Photo courtesy of Lucas Van Oort on Unsplash

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday will set a public hearing on a series of proposed hikes to trash collection fees throughout Riverside County’s unincorporated communities.

The board is expected to schedule a hearing for the second week of May to consider across-the-board increases ranging from 5% to 8% sought by the four waste haulers under contract with the county — Burrtec Waste, CR&R Inc., Desert Valley Disposal and Waste Management Inc.

According to Department of Environmental Health Director Jeff Johnson, the adjustments are necessary to keep pace with inflation.

The department published consumer price index data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that the overall CPI for the region rose 8.6% between January 2021 and January 2022. The waste haulers are permitted to seek rate adjustments every year based on rising landfill, transportation and other costs reflected in the rate of inflation.

The board rarely denies adjustment requests. However, in 2020, Supervisor Kevin Jeffries opposed increases, arguing that financial hardships tied to the COVID public health lockdowns made it an inopportune time to hike fees on county residents. The increases were approved despite his opposition.

The Burrtec hike would boost customers’ monthly rates from an average $26.60 to $28.07. Residents serviced by CR&R would see their bills go up from between $27.37 and $39.34, to between $29.64 and $42.65.

Desert Valley Disposal customers would go from paying an average $27.49 to $29.52, and Waste Management’s new fee structure would increase from between $23.36 and $26.16, to between $25.37 and $28.41 per month for residential collections.

Officials noted some of the proposed refuse retrieval fee hikes for residential service are offset by reductions in recycling fees. Therefore, the fee increases that are on the table fall below the 8.6% annual inflation rate.

Waste collection for the county occurs in defined “franchise areas,” which currently number 11 and encompass communities such as Bermuda Dunes, Cabazon, Desert Center, East Hemet, French Valley, Lakeland Village, Nuevo, Thermal, Thousand Palms and Winchester. Most of the existing franchise agreements have been in place since the late 1990s.

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