TOAV approves trash, sewer increases (March 27, 2013)

APPLE VALLEY • Residents in Apple Valley will have to dish out a few more dollars after the town council unanimously approved two rate increases this week.

Residents were heard during public hearings, then the council approved trash and sewer increases during Tuesday night’s meeting.

Trash service fees will increase by up to 7.62 percent, while sewer service will rise by more than 15 percent. Property owners using the sewer system will see their monthly bills increase by $3.73, going up to $28.19 a month. The increases took effect Wednesday.

Rising costs affect us as individuals, us as a town and our service providers as well, Mayor Curt Emick said. I wish we could hold fees steady, but the reality is the cost to do business continues to rise.

The trash rate request was based upon increased costs incurred over the past three years by Burrtec Waste Industries for trash and recycling services or solid waste.

The last increase to the service rate occurred in August 2008.

In January, a total of 22,354 written notices were mailed to property owners notifying them of the public hearing and their right to protest the proposed trash fee increase.

Prior to the council meeting, the town had received a total of 1,641 protests, and 1,115 letters marked as undeliverable, which are regarded as protests. A majority protest of 11,178 property owners would have halted the increase, but the number of protests fell well short of that mark.

In May 2012, the Victor Valley Waste Water Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) proposed an increase of 14.9 percent in sewer user charge for member agencies — including Apple Valley — which was approved and became effective July 1, 2012.

The town did not pass on the cost increase to residents, but instead shouldered over $122,500, with over $140,000 in additional sewage charges recorded through Tuesday, according to the town. The VVWRA rate increase has upped the town’s sewage charges by almost $17,000 per month, which the town’s sewer fund cannot sustain.

In January, a total of 8,039 property owners using the sewer system were given a chance to protest, and the town received a total of 249 protests and 438 of letters marked as undeliverable, again falling well short of a majority.

Emick said state mandates for trash diversion and water treatment as well as rising utility and fuel costs make rate increases unavoidable.

Source: Rene De La Cruz, Daily Press