RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The Board of Supervisors Tuesday scheduled a June 27 public hearing to consider whether to impose special assessments totaling $2.28 million on thousands of Riverside County residents’ property tax bills to collect unpaid trash collection debts.
In a 4-0 vote — with Supervisor Karen Spiegel absent — the board signed off on Department of Environmental Health Director Jeff Johnson’s request for the hearing.
According to Johnson, 5,664 residents in unincorporated communities owe the county’s four waste haulers for rubbish pickup and disposal services in 2022.
Amounts in arrears range from about $21 to $2,500 per customer, according to the proposed special assessment roll.
If the assessments are approved, they would be tacked onto delinquent payers’ annual property tax obligations.
Board Chairman Kevin Jeffries noted that one of the haulers — he didn’t specify which — had been inconsistent in rubbish retrieval services, and he cautioned that when the hearing is held, he intended to question whether some of the customers impacted by the alleged slipshod service were among those listed on the proposed assessment roll.
“The regular removal of solid waste from residential properties is a basic sanitation practice that protects both the environment and the public,” Johnson said. “The mandatory collection of solid waste and the payment for the collection is critical.”
The hearing will provide a platform for ratepayers to argue before the board their cases against assessments, offering specifics about mitigating circumstances, including how their finances have been impacted in the last year to the extent that they have not been able to meet some obligations.
In the past, petitioners have presented appeals to the board based on the fact that they oversee their own waste disposal and shouldn’t be on the hook for the waste haulers’ costs. Sometimes, properties are also under lease, and the owners aren’t responsible for paying trash disposal charges.
If the supervisors authorize the special assessments after the hearing is closed, an additional $77-per-parcel charge would be applied to delinquent bills to cover the cost of public noticing and county staff time.
According to officials, residents can avoid the supplemental charge by paying their bills in full on or before July 21.
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