Feather River Disposal customers see 17 percent increase

Garbage collection rates are going up throughout Plumas County. In some areas, it’s rising by 17.22 percent for residential and 9.53 percent for commercial for those doing business with Feather River Disposal (franchise area no. 1).

A 4.24 percent increase is approved for those with Intermountain Disposal (franchise area no. 2).

The residential rates cover door-to-door services, transfer and hauling fees.

Following two public hearings, members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for two different rate increases in role call votes Aug. 6.

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Digesting the residential rate increase, Supervisor Sherrie Thrall asked Plumas County Public Works Director Bob Perreault how much that worked out to in actual dollars? About $3, was the response.

“That’s a cup of coffee for most of our residents,” responded Supervisor Lori Simpson.

“Seventeen percent sounds like a lot,” Thrall said. “As Lori said, most people would spend that on a cup of coffee.”

Response to Proposition 218

“The primary purpose of this agenda request (is) in compliance with Proposition 218,” Perreault explained to the Board of Supervisors. This covers both Feather River Disposal and Intermountain Disposal. These two solid waste collection companies cover different parts of Plumas County. Prop. 218 was passed by voters in 1996 and is the right for residents to vote on taxes.

Following Perreault’s explanation of previous dealings with both contracts, including a lengthy discussion about findings with Feather River Disposal, supervisors opened a public hearing. The hearing was to allow anyone from the public to comment.

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Only representatives from each contractor were present and the public hearings were closed almost immediately.

Discussions

Feather River Disposal

In March 2017 or about then, Perreault said that FRD submitted a request for an increase of 11.98 percent. But they didn’t submit an audited, financial statement for the period ending Dec. 31, 2016. This is a requirement for the contract.

Public Works staff and a solid waste consultant (R3 Consulting Group) reviewed the contract and considered the increase, according to Perreault.

It was determined that further discussion with FRD was necessary.

“Following discussions with the R3 Consulting Group, the director of Public Works advised Feather River Disposal that their request of 11.98 percent would not be supported by Public Works staff,” Perreault explained.

Perreault said he directed the consultant to have FRD prepare a cost of services rate study for the franchise contract area. It was finalized by June 2017.

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In further discussions following the study, Perreault said the cost of services (COS) study proposed that the residential rate be increased by 4.09 percent. Commercial rates would decrease by 3.06 percent.

A calculated imbalance was discovered between those two rates reflecting that somehow commercial was helping pay for residential services. “There were no recommended adjustments to be made to the transfer station rates by the COS rate study,” Perreault said.

At that time FRD submitted a revised rate increase of 4.85 percent. This was “an amount that was deemed acceptable by the director of Public Works, subject to approval of the board of supervisors,” Perreault said.

Then in March 2018, FRD submitted an audited financial statement for the previous calendar year. This was reviewed by Public Works and forwarded to the consultant. It was requested that the consultant apply the refuse rate increase or RRI procedure under the franchise agreement of April 2017.

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The consultant agreed that FRD was entitled to a waste fee increase of 2.69 percent.

In March 2019, FRD again submitted the audited financial statement for the past calendar year. Public Works again reviewed it and forwarded it to the consultant. The RRI procedure was again used and a waste fee increase of 4.76 percent was deemed satisfactory.

Proposed rate increase for FRD

A cumulative proposed fee increase included 17.22 percent for residential collection, 9.53 percent for commercial, and 12.82 percent for residential and commercial customers self-hauling to transfer stations.

Perreault noted that the request before the board of supervisors Aug. 6 didn’t include the 12.82 rate increase to transfer stations. The board approved that increase July 2.

Perreault explained that 2,942 notices were mailed from the County of Plumas to all customers and property owners paying fees for residential and commercial June 20. The contract was for curbside pickup and disposal of solid waste that detailed the proposed adjustments. Internet links were also provided with that mailer.

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“It is noted that the last rate increase authorized for FRD for solid waste services related to collection fees, which shall cover door-to-door collection, transfer, hauling and ultimate disposal activities was approved by the board of supervisors on Jan. 13, 2009,” Perreault explained.

Only four complaints about the proposed rate increase were returned. Only written protests greater than 50 percent would have created cause for reconsideration of the amount of the increase.

Increase schedule for FRD

The accumulated residential fee increase, as approved by the board of supervisors, shows that customers with one can per week are seeing a rate increase from $18.07 to $21.18 (approximately $3); two cans per week was $25.13 and is now $29.46. The rate for a 64-gallon waste wheeler was $24.71 and is now $28.96; and for a 100-gallon wheeler went from $32.03 to $37.54.

Fees for residential collection of large items including washers, dryers, standard fridge or a single mattress went from $17.70 for each item to $20.75.

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Curbside residential for a deep freeze or double mattress went from $35.24 to $41.31. And tires have an individual rate depending on the sizes. Cost per tire was $3.90 to $17.70 for a 20-inch or larger tire. It is now $4.57 all the way up to $20.75. All of these rates are just a sampling of all the items listed.

At FRD transfer sites, costs too increased. For a compact truck with side boards the cost was $25.87 and now it’s $29.19.

The cost to drop off a washer, dryer, standard fridge or a single mattress went from $14.01 to $15.81. A deep freeze or double mattress went from $14.01 to $15.81. Tires are slightly less than curbside pickup.

Proposed rate increase for Intermountain Disposal

Intermountain Disposal received approval by the board for a 4.24 percent increase for all solid waste services. This includes door-to-door collection, transfer, hauling and disposal activities.

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Unlike Feather River Disposal’s situation, Intermountain’s increase only covers the period ending Dec. 31, 2018.

Working once again with the waste disposal consulting group that reviewed IMD’s audited financial statement it was concluded that the requested 4.24 percent was acceptable.

That fee increase is for residential, commercial and combined services, according to Perreault.

In June the Plumas County Integrated Waste Management Task Force conducted a meeting to further consider the increase and the presentation of the increase to supervisors.

A notice of public hearing was sent to 1,797 customers and property owners, according to Perreault. No protest letters were returned.

The last rate increase approved by the Board of Supervisors was in Sept. 2013, according to Perreault’s records.

Increase schedule for IMD

The increase as approved by the Board of Supervisors was $20.51 and increases to $21.38 for one can per week collections. Two cans per week was $27.15 and increases to $28.30. A 64-gallon waste wheeler was $30.46 and increases to $31.75.

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Residential collection of washers, dryers, standard refrigerators and a single-size mattress cost $19.45 per item and increase less than $1 to $20.27. A deep freeze or double mattress disposal was $38.76 and increases to $40.40.

Tires are by size and begin at $4.40 for the new rate, but by 17 cents to $4.20. The largest tires were $19.45 and have increased to $20.27.

Rates at the transfer site have increased from $9.07 for two cans to $9.45. The rate for a standard size pickup went from $27.98 to $29.17, just to list a few of the examples.

Before adopting the resolution the board of supervisors opened and closed a public hearing opportunity.

Discussion

Supervisor Lori Simpson asked if curbside recycling was any closer to reality for East Quincy residents. Those in Quincy have long received that service.

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said that three or four years ago she worked with FRD to see if it was possible to have recycling in other parts of the county. It was concluded that travel rates for collection were so significant that nothing was ever readied to present to the board of supervisors.

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Perreault said that he and members of the task force explored a limited curbside recycling opportunities for areas besides Quincy. But several issues needed to be resolved and then Perreault was absent for an extended medical leave and the work was dropped.

Perreault said that it is still something that Public Works can take to both franchises and run the numbers to see if curbside recycling collection is doable.

Simpson reminded Perreault and other supervisors that countywide recycling is mandatory. “It’s a good idea but not too easy,” Perreault responded.

Supervisor Jeff Engel said that when people purchase tires they’re already hit with a disposal fee and then the two franchises were charging again for collection.

Perreault said the state still hasn’t made a decision on issues like this. It’s been two and a half years, but the state doesn’t do too well on CRV (California Refund Value), he said. CRV is paid on all cans and bottles, but at this point there’s no place in Plumas County where someone can turn them in for a cash refund.

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Ricky Ross, manager of FRD told the board of supervisors, “This is the first increase that I’ve ever been through that went this smoothly.”

He added that he is pursuing recycling plans “somewhat aggressively.”