Written by David Castellon
Tulare’s Board of Public Utilities voted Thursday to go forward with a proposal that would significantly raise trash service rates for businesses in the city.
Those increases would occur in annual increments, for a total hike of 63 percent by the start of the fifth year. It would start with a 20-percent hike each of the first two years, a 10 percent the year after and 3-percent bumps in 2021-22 and 2022-23.
In addition, the proposal includes rate increases to lease roll-off containers, often used by construction and other businesses.
The new roll-off rate schedule would include a 14-percent fee hike in fiscal 2018-19 and 5 percent more in 2019-20, with further 3-percent increases in both 2021-22 and 2022-23.
No rate increases are proposed for residential customers or for the city’s sweeper division.
With Thursday’s vote, the city will mail out letters this month to residents and businesses announcing an April 5 public hearing for public comment on the proposed rate changes at the Tulare Public Library and City Council Chambers at 475 N. M St.
The matter would then go to the Tulare City Council. If the members approve the increase, it would take effect July 2, according to a report by city staff.
Included in the letter will be a ballot which solid waste customers can use to vote on whether they want the rate changes and mail then back to the city. But the City Council members may use those votes just to weigh public opinion on the matter, as they will have the option of choosing to ratify or not ratify the changes, regardless of how the majority votes.