The Calimesa City Council voted to save its residents and businesses a little bit of money by delaying a monthly rate increase from trash and waste hauler CR&R by two weeks at its recent meeting.

Instead of going into effect July 1 as requested by CR&R, council voted at its May 6 meeting to have the 2.94 percent inflation increase, the 3.5 percent county landfill increase and the 40 cent “Extraordinary Rate Adjustment” go into effect July 15. Depending on the size of container used, residential customers will pay about $2 more per month. Commercial customers will see a greater increase, based on the size of container they use.

“Staff has requested that the public hearing date for the CR&R increase be scheduled for July 15, 2019, which, as you see, is after the annual effective date of July 1,” said Deputy City Manager and City Clerk Darlene Gerdes, who presented the item.

The reason behind the request to delay is because CR&R sent its notice of the increase, as required by law, to the city April 22, Gerdes explained. According to law, the city is then required to give a 45-day notice for the public hearing, allowing citizens time to comment. Calimesa’s first council meeting since receiving the letter was May 6 and its next meeting after the 45 days is July 15 because it canceled its July 1 meeting due to the Fourth of July holiday that week.

“Staff spoke with CR&R, letting them know this is an issue because if we do not have the public notice until July 15, then the increase would not be effective until July 15,” Gerdes said.

“They do not necessarily agree with that,” Gerdes said, referring to CR&R. “Their interpretation is that they can give out notices for the public hearing even before we set the public hearing and that it would be up to every city if that July 1 would be honored.”

Gerdes did tell council a July 15 effective date may cause billing issues for CR&R.

“We just need some directions from council as to what you want to do,” she said.

Gerdes went over a few other options for council. Council members could decide to hold the July 1 meeting, they could wait until the July 15 meeting but have the increase be retroactive or they could hold a special meeting.

“As a staff, we feel we did what we were supposed to do,” she said. “They should have given the letter more timely and we wouldn’t be in the predicament that we are in.”

No one from CR&R was present to comment.

“They should have given us adequate time to deal with the protocol of Prop 218 that they are well aware of,” said Councilman Larry Smith, referring to the law that details the process.

Mayor Bill Davis also leaned toward the July 15 effective date.

“How many people who would have questions about this are going to be around on (July) 1st or are they going out of town?” Mayor Davis asked. “I would recommend to go back to (July) 15th.”

Mayor Pro Tem Linda Molina and Councilman Ed Clark concurred with the date, making it unanimous.

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