Council approves rate increase for sanitation operations

The Claremont city council approved a sanitation rate increase during Tuesday night’s meeting.

The increase of 3.8 percent is based on the consumer price index for March 2017 to March 2018, according to Community Services Manager Kristin Mikula, who presented the report to the council.

The increase, she said, is to maintain the amount needed in the city’s sanitation fund for operations and future purchases of new garbage trucks. The sanitation fund requires a reserve balance of 15 percent in case of an emergency, and if the rate increase hadn’t been approved, she said, the reserve would eventually fall below that threshold.

The 3.8 percent amount roughly translates to $230,000, Ms. Mikula said. While that sounds like a large amount, she emphasized, it will result in a relatively minor increase to customers.

“For an average single-family household it is a little less than a dollar a month,” she said.

The rate increase will allow the city’s sanitation fund to remain financially solvent for the next five years.

Ms. Mikula noted Claremont charges for the actual cost to provide the services, regardless if the customers are residential or commercial. Other cities in the area, she said, charge a little more for commercial properties.

This prompted Councilmember Sam Pedroza to suggest a possible subsidy program for Claremont residents and for the city’s commercial property owners to absorb much of the later sanitation rate increases.

Mr. Pedroza voted to approve the rate increase ordinance along with the other councilmembers, but he called on the city to do a cost analysis of what a subsidized program for residents would look like—one “where the businesses would absorb any potential increases next year, and having the residents not have to pay more,” he said.

One of the reasons for attempting to stabilize sanitation rates for residents is due to Measure SC, the proposed bond to fund a new police station, he said. Mr. Pedroza floated the idea as a way to “give back” to residents who will contribute to the bond should it pass.

“Perhaps this is one thing we could consider,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Calaycay cautioned that such a program could lead to unintended consequences, such as businesses increasing prices on customers to make up for the increased sanitation costs.

Mr. Calaycay and Mayor Opanyi Nasiali were in favor of a study if it also included pros and cons of a possible subsidy program.

The rate increase ordinance passed, 4-0. Councilmember Larry Schroeder was absent from Tuesday night’s meeting.

The increase will take effect on July 1.

 

CBO grants awarded

The city announced the recipients of the 2018-2019 Community-Based Organization grant program.

The CBO program aims to provide financial assistance from the city to non-profit agencies that “deliver critical services to Claremont residents,” according to Human Services Director Anne Turner. The CBO grants are separated into two categories—general services and homeless services.

General services grants, which has $86,650 available for different programs within the city, were given to 19 agencies, out of a total of 23 agencies who applied.

The homeless services section initially had a budget of $60,000, but this year half of that was allocated to pay for a consultant from Los Angeles County who was hired by the city to develop a homeless services plan.

That plan was pulled from Tuesday night’s meeting in order to put in more information, according to City Manager Tara Schultz. It will be presented to the council at the May 22 meeting.

—Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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