CR&R moves forward to raise rates for San Jacinto businesses and residents

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“The people that we have up in Sacramento don’t care about us folks down here,” Mayor Pro Tem Crystal Ruiz said at the San Jacinto City Council meeting Tuesday, June 16, regarding CR&R Environmental Service’s raising of prices to families and local businesses. “The decisions that they’re making are not decisions that we can afford to have them make.” 

This statement came after 12 protest letters from residents refusing to pay an increase in rates to reflect current market conditions were received by the council after a public notice on the item had been released.

For businesses, the pricing would depend on the level of service. For businesses that have a 3-yard bin with pickup one time a week, it would be a $6 increase each week, which would result in a $24 increase per month, according to Alex Braicovich, senior regional vice president of CR&R, who called in to answer questions during the council meeting. For residents, the increase would be 93 cents per month, which would be about 21 cents per week.

“When you think about the businesses and they didn’t even consider coming down to city council or to file a letter surprises me, I’m absolutely stunned with that,” Ruiz said. 

She said that they needed real people to represent their citizens, because it is “so corrupt, it’s just not right.” 

“The state of California has implemented a set of regulations that is impacting the commercial business sector significantly,” Braicovich said. “There are a couple of bills, AB 341 and AB 1826 that require certain programs to be implemented, and these are unfunded mandates that fall on the city and the hauler.” 

To mitigate the extra cost, they’re distributing it across the customer base. 

Comments by staff were made regarding the influence of legislation impacting citizens. 

“The problem that I have is you’re being forced to, basically, eat the dollar amount that they’re forcing down on you and there’s more legislation coming,” Ruiz said of bills coming that could potentially impact citizens.

This change has been implemented in 12 cities so far.

“Every city is going through these types of increases,” Braicovich said. “And as you said earlier, trust me, I would not be here asking for this if it wasn’t something that we have no control over.”

San Jacinto Mayor Andrew Kotyuk asked Braicovich what happens if they don’t meet these mandates.

“There’s a couple things,” Braicovich said. “They (the city) could be put on a compliance order, if they don’t meet the requirements of the legislation. 

“The newest legislation that’s coming down, cities can be fined $10,000 per day if they don’t meet the regulations,” he said. 

It was also added that once a city is on a compliance order, CalRecycle will come down and the city will be at the “scrutiny of the state,” according to Braicovich.

In other words, it could become a very expensive problem.

The motion to pass the resolution passed unanimously, though the main basis for approving from several of the council members was due to not wanting the city to be penalized.

Phase two of the San Jacinto Library Parking Improvement Project was discussed in retrospect to Phase one, which awarded the construction contract to Adame Landscape Inc. in summer 2019, and they finished up on the parking lot this spring. 

Phase two includes landscaping, irrigation and lighting and putting the finishing touches on the parking lot. Bids were reviewed June 1. Adame Landscape Inc. submitted a bid for $122,063; however, Adame Landscape Inc.’s bid was not submitted properly and was voided. 

The second bidder, Millsten Enterprises Inc., is now the lowest bid at $129,405.12. Additional funds for soft costs or contingencies have been requested. Staff recommended Millsten Enterprises Inc. to be awarded the construction contract for Phase two.

A variety of plants will be added to the landscaping, along with boulders and some vines that cover up the existing block wall, among others. 

One of the concerns from staff was on how measures would be implemented to prevent graffiti in the new area, especially to the new San Jacinto seal that will be at the site.

It was mentioned that hopefully the police department across the street from the site would deter graffiti, as well as the vines on the walls as an extra protection against it. It was also suggested by the mayor to consider implementing a “blue light,” a way to notify public safety during night hours for citizens if needed. City council approved the motion for Phase two.

For more information on the San Jacinto Arts in Public Places Program which was discussed at the June 16 city council meeting, contact Travis Randel, director of Community Development, at https://www.sanjacintoca.gov/city_departments/community-development

For information on agenda items, visit https://www.sanjacintoca.gov.