Recently during public comment, questions were raised by some members of the public regarding the appropriateness of charges that go into our refuse rates. Given these questions, I thought it might be helpful for me to address Proposition 218 in general and these charges specifically.
Proposition 218 applies to water, sewer, refuse and other property-related fees in a limited context. Prop. 218 does not require voters to specifically approve, by ballot, utility rates. Rather, Prop. 218 requires such fees to be “proportional” to the cost of service. This means that the rate may not exceed the reasonable cost to provide such service. Prop. 218 also requires the City to hold a public hearing to discuss adoption of a rate increase, provide mailed notice to all ratepayers of the hearing and if more than 50% of ratepayers object to the rate increase, the rate increase fails. The City has scheduled such a hearing for the proposed refuse rate increase for February 12, 2013, and all ratepayers have been so notified of the hearing.
A specific question was raised as to why refuse ratepayers should be charged for the following services:
- shopping cart retrieval
- street sweeping
- Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful, which is a program administered by the local Chamber of Commerce.
Specifically, two ratepayers have asked how these services directly benefit their parcel. Here are the answers:
- Shopping Carts: The retrieval of shopping carts will not be funded by the Refuse Fund.
- Street Sweeping: The Refuse Fund funds a portion of street sweeping, because a portion of the refuse which is collected by the street sweepers is either a result of collection bins being collected curbside or is refuse that is generated by the property owner that otherwise should have been deposited in collection bins.
- Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful (a program of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce): Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful (KRCB) is a community based program sponsored by the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, the City of Riverside and other organizations and individuals to provide community clean-ups and beautification efforts to improve the quality of life for the City of Riverside. Since 1992, KRCB has provided hands-on stewardship with litter prevention year round. City of Riverside refuse funds are used to help pay for time and materials needed to implement litter removal activity. City funds have helped to pay for removal of 116,965 pounds of litter, 800 Adopt a Street clean ups for 84 Adopt a Streets, monthly clean ups, the Great American Clean-up volunteer program activities and calculation of the annual litter index. KRCB works throughout the city with local businesses and schools to provide volunteers and sponsor events to remove trash cleaning up our environment and improving the quality of life in the City of Riverside instilling a sense of pride in our residents. On November 11, 2011, KRCB won the national award for First Place from Keep America Beautiful in the category for cities with populations over 200,000. The judging was based on litter prevention efforts, recycling & waste reduction, beautification programs, community involvement and leveraging resources, media and public awareness, and recognition programs done throughout the year. Programs which promote and educate as to the proper disposal of refuse, the appropriate diversion of recyclable materials, and the proper disposal of hazardous waste benefit all refuse ratepayers by keeping the City’s costs for refuse collection low.
Hopefully, you will find this information helpful as you review these issues- thanks for reading, Riverside.