Board sets hearing date on proposed trash collection fee hikes

RIVERSIDE – Riverside County supervisors today scheduled a July 11 public hearing to consider whether to increase fees for trash collection in unincorporated communities.

According to Department of Environmental Health Director Steve Van Stockum, the four waste haulers under contract with the county – Burrtec Waste, CR&R Inc., Desert Valley Disposal and Waste Management Inc. – are
seeking a 2 percent hike in fees to keep pace with inflation.

Van Stockum characterized the increase as relatively small, adding an average 52 cents per month to residents’ bills.

The board adjusts refuse-retrieval rates virtually every year. In the past, adjustments have been as high as 3 percent.

In 2015, a 0.7 percent hike became a hotly debated issue after several Mead Valley residents complained to the board 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, whose spokeswoman admitted “errors” and assured the board that the deficiencies would be rectified. Within two months, more than 750 residences were
reclassified to remove the additional cost burdens.

Waste collection for the county occurs in what are known as “franchise areas,” which currently number 11 and encompass communities such as Cabazon, Desert Center, East Hemet, Lakeland Village, Thermal and Thousand Palms.

The 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, 2016. Most residents pay between $18.28 and $33.57 per month for service, according to county officials.

The cost for commercial accounts ranges from $72 to $1,817 per month. Businesses are also in store for a 2 percent hike.

Account-holders are generally billed quarterly.

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