The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to impose special assessments totaling $2.75 million on thousands of Riverside County residents’ property tax bills to collect unpaid trash collection debts.
According to the Department of Environmental Health, roughly 6,600 residents in unincorporated communities owe the county’s waste haulers for trash pickup and disposal services in 2018. Amounts in arrears range from just over $100 to as much as $3,200 per customer, according to the special assessment roll.
Environmental Health Director Keith Jones requested a public hearing for the Board of Supervisors to approve the assessments, which will be tacked onto delinquent payers’ property tax bills.
Two property owners — Francis Hoffman and Ana Velasco — appeared before the board to object to liens being placed on their parcels. Hoffman’s matter was resolved after he spoke with representatives from one of the trash collection companies. Velasco appealed directly to the supervisors for intervention.
“I don’t want to be paying a bill that does not belong to me,” she told the board, explaining that she was a landlord and it had been her renter’s responsibility to satisfy service obligations. “I’m a single mom with kids to take care of. Don’t put a lien on my property.”
Board Chairman Kevin Jeffries expressed sympathy, noting that he, too, was a landlord and couldn’t always be sure leasees would pay for rubbish collection.
“I pay the trash bill for the tenant and build the cost into their rent,” he said.
He urged Jones to create a “model going forward” whereby landlords are notified when rented parcels are in arrears on waste collection fees.
Velasco’s case was referred to Jones’ staff for further review.
Because the supervisors authorized 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.
However, Jones said they can avoid the supplemental charge by paying their bills in full on or before July 26.
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