Dunsmuir City Council voted unanimously during Thursday’s regular meeting to lower garbage collection fees as much as possible for all customers.
After approving a draft resolution, the next step is to have paperwork organized by the city attorney in preparation for a Proposition 218 election.
Interim city manager Randy Johnsen presented council with an amended draft resolution for garbage rate structure. At the Nov. 5 council meeting, Johnsen presented a similar rate structure that would reduce fees for most customers, but drastically increase rates for dumpster users.
The amended rate structure proposed last week maintains the per-container, per-pickup rate originally presented for 65 gallon and 95 gallon garbage containers. Customers would pay twice as much for two containers or two pickups as for one.
For dumpster users, a formula is applied to reduce the rate of additional dumpsters or pickups to 70% of the cost for the first unit. Johnsen said he researched garbage rates of other cities that have a declining fee structure before making the recommendations.
The original draft resolution estimated monthly garbage fee revenue to be about $30,500, which is $2,000 less than what the city currently collects.
Johnsen recommended council adopt the draft resolution and apply further rate decreases at their discretion.
During public comment, citizen Leslie Wilde said she had obtained an amicus curiae from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association to support the validity of her lawsuit against the city. Wilde’s suit claims the city violated Proposition 218 when garbage rates were raised in 2004.
The letter argues against the points made by Dunsmuir’s city attorney in support of a demurrer. It states, “The primary thrust of the City’s arguments is that the claims are insulated from attack by virtue of the validation statute, and that the claims are time barred. As will be shown below, neither of these contentions has merit.”
Wilde, and her supporting amicus curiae, claim, “the ongoing collection of Prop 218 noncompliant utility rates are a continuously accruing harm.”
Council was unable to respond to Wilde’s comment due to ongoing litigation.
Returning to the matter at hand, council members collectively decided to further reduce the garbage fees by approximately 30% for all customers.
Johnsen said, “the current month to month rates leave the city in the black, but there’s enough of a surplus to cover that for at least the next two years. At that time, the city should do another garbage rate study.”
Dunsmuir’s contract with Clemens Waste Disposal expires in 2017. Johnsen said he believes no adjustment to garbage rates should be necessary until a new contract is considered.
Council unanimously voted to direct the city manager to send the draft resolution, including the additional rate decreases agreed upon at the meeting, to Dunsmuir’s city attorney.