Board of Directors to Hold Hearing on Proposed Trash Collection Fee Increases

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold a public hearing Tuesday on a series of proposed garbage collection fee hikes in unincorporated communities in Riverside County.

The board is expected to schedule a hearing for the second week of May to consider blanket increases ranging from 5% to 8% requested by the county’s four contracted waste haulers – Burrtec Waste, CR&R Inc., Desert Valley Disposal and waste management inc.

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

The department released consumer price index data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that the overall CPI for the region rose 8.6% between January 2021 and January 2022. Waste haulers are allowed to request rate adjustments each year based on increases in landfills, transportation and other costs reflected in the rate of inflation.

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

Burrtec’s hike would lower monthly customer rates from an average of $26.60 to $28.07. Residents served by CR&R would see their bills go from $27.37 to $39.34 to between $29.64 and $42.65. Desert Valley Disposal customers would drop from $27.49 to $29.52 on average, and Waste Management’s new rate structure would drop from $23.36 to $26.16 to $25.37 to $28.41 per months for residential collections.

Officials noted that some of the proposed increases in garbage collection fees for residential services are offset by reductions in recycling fees. Therefore, the fee increases that are on the table are lower than the annual inflation rate of 8.6%.

Garbage collection for the county takes place in defined “franchise zones”, 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 existing franchise agreements have been in place since the late 1990s.

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