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Rocklin delays garbage rate hike

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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The Rocklin City Council is delaying action on the proposed 2.6 percent garbage fee increase for Rocklin residents and businesses. During the public hearing last month, Mayor Scott Yuill said he wanted to delay action because every council member needed to be present to vote on the issue and he wanted more information on how much other cities are charged for their garbage collection. “It seems to me there is some missing analysis here to come to any conclusion on rates,” Yuill said. The city runs a public/private partnership with Recology Auburn Placer, the company that takes out the trash for city residents. They are proposing an increase that amounts to about $0.45 more a month in some cases. Rocklin resident Gordon Havens told council even though he could afford the fee increase, he considers it a tax and didn’t think it was fair during the economic slowdown. “It’s a nominal increase but it’s bad timing,” Havens said. “The city is laying off people, people are having their homes foreclosed and we have unemployment. I wonder if it is a good time to tell people you want to raise their garbage fee.” Michael Murphy, who is a candidate for city council, told the council he was concerned the rate increase would make people start dumping their garbage on city property. “They just don’t want to pay the fees at the dump and then end up dumping it and break the law,” Murphy said. “They start dumping garbage behind the (city’s) corporation yard. Why is it that public services are going up while everyone is cutting back in every way, shape and form?” Murphy said he thought the partnership with Auburn Placer amounted to a monopoly. Officials with the company said the increase is the first in four years and is needed to accommodate garbage workers’ negotiated cost of living increases. If this increase is approved, the company is not ruling out another increase next year. The contract with the city allows them to make rate change requests on yearly basis. This year’s proposed rate increase is expected to be across the board and would apply to seniors as well. Some residents were concerned about the lack of awareness about senior discounts associated with garbage pick-up. Right now residents, who are age 62 or older, can apply for a rate discount that will drop their monthly garbage rate from $24.11 to $19.84. According to the company, seniors need to apply for the discount at city hall, and provide proof of age. The proposed increase was to take effect in October but now that will be delayed. The council is expected to take up the matter by November. At that time, the public will be invited to discuss the matter at the council meeting.