By Debra Moore
Plumas County is served by two garbage companies, and both were scheduled to be granted rate increases per the terms of their contracts — but only one company did; the other was a no show for the July 5 public hearing on the matter.
That clearly irked Plumas County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Goss who was presiding over the required public hearing to grant the rate hikes. Ricky Ross was present to represent Intermountain Disposal, the company that serves the eastern end of the county. No representative was present for Feather River Disposal/Waste Management that provides garbage service from Quincy to Lake Almanor.
“Feather River Disposal can come back another day,” Goss said.
In addition to no representation, Supervisor Gregg Hagwood said the timing to request a rate increase was not good. “It’s distasteful to go down this path of rate increases,” he said (based on Feather River Disposal’s service). “As distasteful as it is, we do have to abide by the contract.”
The contracts allow both garbage franchises to enjoy a profit, and each year the cost of doing business is calculated, with increases granted if necessary to ensure that profit. The calculations are reviewed by the county’s Solid Waste Task Force, as well as an independent auditor.
Based on that information, Feather River Disposal was entitled to a 6.39 percent rate increase for its curbside service for its residential and commercial customers. Intermountain Disposal was looking at an 8.91 percent increase for its curbside residential and commercial customers, which reflected two years of increases (6.41 percent for this year; and a 2.5 percent franchise fee for the year prior) . Intermountain Disposal owner Ricky Ross said that due to last year’s Dixie Fire, the franchise didn’t pursue an increase at that time.
An audience member questioned the need to grant the increases to the garbage companies; she is a customer of Feather River Disposal. She summed up her remarks by saying, “With all due respect to the supervisors, I brought you a garbage bag – put the contract in it and throw it out.”
In making his motion to approve the increase for Intermountain Disposal, Supervisor Jeff Engel said, “Ricky runs a small business like I do. He runs trucks all over the county and to Lockwood (the landfill outside of Reno, Nevada). Gas has more than doubled. Do you want these people to go out of business?” If that were to happen, he said there would be no one to pick up the garbage.
Earlier in the year, the supervisors approved increases for self-haul customers that take their trash to the transfer sites in both service areas.