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Letter to the Editor: About the rate increases – your hands are not tied

Editor’s note: Regular letter-to-the-editor writer Mark Mihevc submitted a copy of a letter that he sent to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors in advance of Tuesday’s public hearing on rate increases for the Intermountain Disposal. 

 

Dear Supervisors and Hearing Attendees,

This Intermountain Deposal (IMD) rate increase is based on a provision of the contract that allows the garbage company to recoup increases to a ‘franchise fee’ that is paid to Plumas County. Public Works increased this franchise fee from 6% to 8.5% and was effective starting in 2019. Per the contract, Article 11 reads in part:

“Any adjustment to the franchise fee shall be timed to occur on or around July 1 of the Rate Year to coincide with the RRI adjustment, and shall be considered a pass-through adjustment, and as such shall be recoverable to Contractor through an adjustment to the rates.”

In June 2020, the Supervisors approved a 3.84% rate increase for IMD that was based on the prior year of 2019 and was calculated by a contracted third party to perform these calculations.

In my view, IMD already received a rate increase (3.84%) that addressed the increase of the franchise fee in June 2020. To prove my point, the rate review for fiscal year 2020 (performed in May 2021) concluded that ‘IMD is not due an RRI rate adjustment for this year’. They are making the contract specified profit.

Additionally, the contract provisions state that any adjustment must be performed during the normal RRI adjustment period that occurs on or around July 1st. It is only March and is before normal rate review periods. The audited financials for 2021 are normally available in mid-March.

To approve this rate increase request would be simply allowing IMD to ‘double-dip’ this rate increase and is fundamentally unwarranted. And why did the Public Works Director even consider this? And why did the Task Force vote to approve the rate increase?

In this case, your hands are not tied, is not a bitter pill, and you do indeed have a choice.

I urge the Supervisors to vote NO on this unwarranted double-dipping increase for IMD.

Note: Since this is a Hearing public comment and to be read out loud by the Chair, I urge the Hearing audience to also question this rate increase.

Respectfully submitted by,

Mark Mihevc

Graeage

 

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