Public hearing set for fee hike

Recology Auburn Placer blames fuel costs for rate increase proposal
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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A final decision on whether garbage fees will increase in the city of Rocklin has been set for a public hearing in March. “We’ll take testimony and people can bring any comments that they want to discuss on this issue,” announced Mayor Brett Storey during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The public will have a chance to weigh in on Recology Auburn Placer’s proposal for a four percent cost of living adjustment for its workers. “In most cases, the rate adjustment to the individual customer will be in the range of 2.34-percent since the increase is not applied to the disposal component of the overall rate,” Rocklin Director of Public Services Rick Forstall said. The city maintains a public/private partnership with the company to remove trash for residents. Recology General Manager John Rowe said it has been five years since the rates changed. Fuel cost increases of 36 percent contribute to the problem. “We’ve tightened up our routes,” Rowe said. “We used a computer system to help us route. We’re running fewer trucks because of the economy. Like everyone else we’ve laid off employees.” The ultimate decision will be made by the council. The agreement with the franchise gives the council the authority to approve or reject increases, which the company can request on an annual basis. Most council members expressed their support of the company Tuesday night. “Recology has served the community extremely well and there aren’t any complaints,” Council member Diana Ruslin said. Council member George Magnuson said the increase over six years amounts to one penny a week. “I question whether it’s enough because I don’t want you to go under,” Magnuson said. “I just want to be realistic about it.” Rowe explained his workers are making $5 less an hour than their Roseville counterparts. Council member Scott Yuill expressed concern about the proposal amid civic austerity. “We’re asking city employees to take cuts,” Yuill said. “So I’m rather reluctant to support an increase where a big share of that is going towards increases in wages.” Last year, Recology proposed an increase of 2.60 percent, but the measure was never presented to the council. The last increase was approved in July 2006 when the city council granted a 3.65 percent increase. With no potential naysayers speaking out Tuesday night, Rocklin resident Gordon Havens tried to justify paying, what the city indicated, could be as low as $0.56 per month per can in most cases. “No one likes to have their costs increased, but we have a great system here,” Havens said. “They probably deserve this. I’d rather have this system than some of the ones I see where they pile that stuff out in the street.” The public hearing on the proposed fee hikes will be held during the March 13 City Council meeting.