City refuse rate increase is on hold |

City refuse rate increase is on hold

Adam Jensen / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ” A move to increase trash collection rates in the city of South Lake Tahoe was delayed indefinitely on Tuesday.

City Council members voted to table discussion on a proposed 4.92 percent rate increase following a request by South Tahoe Refuse Co. to postpone the matter.

The refuse company made the request so an outside expert can review the accuracy of calculations used to determine the size of the increase request.

The size of the proposed rate increase is determined by a cost-of-living adjustment formula spelled out in the refuse company’s franchise agreement with the city. The formula includes seven variables that account for a variety of changing costs for the refuse company ” including fuel and labor.

Under the formula, the company could increase rates by 7.01 percent ” a rate increase the company originally proposed in January, said South Tahoe Refuse President Jeff Tillman.

The rate was dropped to 4.92 percent after the company reevaluated figures from the last half of 2008, Tillman said. The drop in proposed rates was also due to the company’s recognition of current economic conditions and that many South Shore residents are struggling to make ends meet, Tillman said.

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Three people spoke in opposition to the rate increase at Tuesday’s council meeting, including South Shore contractor John Adamski.

Taxpayers have been “bombarded” by rate increases lately ” including higher prices for electricity and gas, Adamski said.

Although he said he understood South Tahoe Refuse’s desire to prosper as a business, Adamski said a period dominated by job losses and foreclosures is not the right time to raise rates.

When the proposed rate increase will be back before the city council is unknown.

Analysis of the rate increase is not expected to take very long, Tillman said.

Another public hearing will have to be held before the council can vote on a proposed rate increase, said City Manager David Jinkens.

The council did not approve a resolution demanding the composition of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Governing Board be changed to include all locally elected members.

The resolution was introduced by Councilman Bruce Grego, who contended a locally elected TRPA Governing Board would relieve Lake Tahoe Basin residents’ frustrations with the agency.

Despite his impassioned plea to other council members, Grego did not receive a second for the resolution.