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Graeagle resident successfully challenges garbage rate hike

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

At times, Graeagle resident Mark Mihevc must have felt like he was tilting at windmills in his quest to ensure that ratepayers weren’t overcharged on their garbage bills. But his perseverance paid off, and during the Board of Supervisors’ meeting July 11, he was told that the most recent planned rate increases planned for the eastern portion of the county would be reviewed.

Plumas County’s two garbage franchises, Feather River Disposal (Waste Management) and Intermountain Disposal, are guaranteed rates of return. To achieve these rates of return, the franchises submit their audited financial records to the county’s public works department and the county’s solid waste task force, and then a third-party consultant makes recommendations based on the records.

Mihevk said that a simple accounting mistake was made on how ‘non-allowable’ expenses are managed in the rate review process. He said that based on his review, Intermountain Disposal was not due a rate increase this year, and that it was not entitled to a rate increase last year either. He spelled it out in a letter to the editor.  (https://www.plumasnews.com/letter-to-the-editor-rate-increase-doesnt-make-sense/)

The board was being asked to approve a 9.08 percent rate hike for curbside service for Feather River Disposal and a 10.37 percent increase for Intermountain Disposal during the July 11 meeting. The board adopted the increase for Feather River Disposal serving the Quincy to Chester areas, but Public Works Director John Mannle asked that the increase for Intermountain Disposal be continued until the matter could be resolved. “The issue is the calculation of the rate,” he said.

William Schoen of R3 Consulting appeared at the meeting via Zoom. “A resident of the county, Mr. Mark Mihevc, raised a concern regarding the methodology,” he said. … “We in fact agree with Mr. Mihevc. We recommend that there be no rate adjustment at this time.” He said the consulting firm is also reviewing past actions. “Once that is completed, we can make a recommendation,” he said.

Schoen said they also reviewed the historical information for Feather River Disposal and there were no issues.

Then he told the supervisors, “The calculation error was my error and my error alone. County staff and IMD bear no responsibility – it’s entire on my shoulders.”

Mihevc, who was in the audience said, “This is a good thing for our county to make sure these processes are done correctly.”

Ricky Ross of IMD also addressed the board. “I’d like to say when we turn our financials in, we don’t know what our increase will be until we see what the taskforce says.” He added that he wants the board to “realize how efficiently we are running our company when rates are going up all around us.”

The issue is scheduled for review Sept. 12.

4 thoughts on “Graeagle resident successfully challenges garbage rate hike

  • Thank you sir, and this is why we all need the digital Plumas News. Donate and pay for this service that so serves this vast Plumas County in so many ways. Local news serves the community but nothing is free. I am hopeful that a way is found to continue this necessity.

    • I so agree Mary/ We need Plumas News and I hoe some entity will take it over.

      Judy Gimple, Indian Valley

  • This isn’t a validation of plumas news it validates how well Mark pays attention and does his research. Because it saves people a few bucks from corporate greed you’ll see more get on board. Marks columns are generally well thought out and logical. He does a good job.

    As for plumas news this could be too little too late. Shop local, pay extra, it’s what needs to be done to keep valuable services running in local economies. I’m sure many businesses continue to struggle.

  • Thank you, Mark, for taking the time to check the figures and for pointing out the error that was made. This is the kind of involved citizenry that benefits the community as a whole–your diligence is appreciated.

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