Riverside County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to impose special assessments totaling $2.86 million on thousands of county residents' property tax bills to collect unpaid trash collection debts.
According to the Department of Environmental Health, roughly 6,000 residents in unincorporated communities owe the county's four waste haulers for rubbish pickup and disposal services in 2019. Amounts in arrears range from just over $100 to as much as $9,700 per customer, according to the special assessment roll.
Environmental Health Director Keith Jones requested a public hearing for the Board of Supervisors to sign off on the assessments. No one addressed the board on the matter. However, according to the Clerk of the Board, one individual did attempt to enter the board chamber to speak but was turned away because the supervisors are holding exclusively virtual meetings, citing the ongoing coronavirus emergency.
It was unclear whether Department of Environmental Health staff were later in contact with the person.
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With the board vote, the unpaid bills and assessments will now be tacked onto delinquent payers' property tax bills.
"This is an annual process," Jones told the supervisors. "Waste haulers notified parcel owners, and our department also reached out via letter to let them know about this hearing.''
The special assessments require that an additional $74 per parcel charge 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 24.
Supervisor Jeff Hewitt underscored that fact, noting "people still have a couple of weeks to get caught up.''
"The regular removal of solid waste from residential properties is a basic sanitation practice that protects both the environment and the public,'' according to a Department of Environmental Health statement. "The mandatory collection of solid waste and the payment for the collection is critical.''
More information is available via the agency website at www.rivcoeh.org/.