I was blown away when I received the notice from Burrtec Waste Co. with regards to the public hearing that will be held by the Highland City Council at 6 p.m. on Aug. 14. Why? Because I was at the initial meeting on June 26, which addressed and approved the motion to give Burrtec a straight 10-year contract and annual 10-year renewal exclusive contract amounting to a 20-year monopoly and the relief of billing administrative costs to Burrtec by placing residential trash fees on each homeowner’s property taxes!
The recent notice from Burrtec stated that the Aug. 14 hearing will address trash rate increases and collection of trash charges for residential customers on their property tax. However, at the initial council meeting on June 26 besides myself and other residents opposing, specifically, the trash charges to the property tax (San Bernardino County tax roll), the council members never responded that the proposition was NOT a done deal.
Council members sat and heard opposition concerns that Highland residents will be financially impacted by the property tax proposal.
They should be given an opportunity to respond; the concern of having a private for-profit business use of a government entity to collect trash service fees, what next? Landlords will have to pay their tenants trash fee up front, even if the rental is vacated after being prepaid on their property taxes; the concern that once collected by the county assessor’s office, their office does not process refunds.
Council members could not and did not address if the extra services required from Burrtec would eventually be passed on, financially, to each homeowner.
The only council member who seemed to have an open mind and actually considered opposition concerns was Jesse Chavez. Mayor Pro Tem Chavez expressed concern of the 20-year contract to Burrtec, and specifically asked Councilman John Timmerman if he should recuse his vote considering the $1,000 each campaign donation by Burrtec’s CEO and vice president. Chavez’s motion to oppose the Burrtec agreement was ignored.
Councilman Timmerman painted a picture of how homeowners get away with not paying their trash fees, (property liens do not go away until paid) and Councilwoman Penny Lilburn’s only heartfelt concern was who would address homeowners’ trash complaints.
They turned a tone deaf ear to the oppositions expressed at the meeting, passed the motion and gave no indication that what they actually approved was a 20-year contract with Burrtec and that the Highland homeowners still have a voice for not only a trash rate increase but also residential trash charges on their property taxes pursuant to state Resolution mandates.
Highland homeowners can submit their opposition by written letter to the Highland city clerk’s office, 27215 Base Line, Highland, CA., 92346: 1. State your objection. 2. Identify the affected parcel. 3. Owner’s name. 4. Signature of owner.
Deadline is 5:30 p.m. Aug.14. A majority protest invalidates the property tax proposal.
Norma Richards, Highland