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Refuse rate surcharge on private streets discriminatory

Original post made by natalie fisher on Sep 8, 2010

The proposed refuse rate increases in Palo Alto include a $14.42/month surcharge for residents who live on private streets (so-called "hard to serve" areas). This is in addition to the rate increases everyone will get.

To avoid the surcharge, a majority of ALL utility customers city-wide must write letters to the city clerk before the Sept. 20 hearing protesting the refuse rate increases. If only a majority of those affected by the surcharge protest, that is insufficient. The city clerk says that a majority of all utility customers would have to protest in writing. The rate increases for everyone and those for private street residents are considered ONE item, not two.

At least some of the private streets are not hard to serve. They are a little narrower than the public streets and smaller trucks are used. My street and a neighboring one, for examples, are short, flat, straight cul-de-sacs off of Middlefield Road. The collector for my street says it is not at all difficult to serve. The city is going after residents of private streets, who already have to pay out of pocket for any maintenance of the roads and trees, for more money. The "hard to serve" claim is a red herring. The city and GreenWaste just want an excuse to increase revenues. This surcharge is discriminatory and I hope a majority of utility customers will write protest letters on the refuse rate increases, even if most are hardly affected personally.

Comments (1)

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 9, 2010 at 5:58 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

What does the contract call for? Did our Hamilton Avenue Hotshots grant an exclusive franchise without restrictions on their rates?
The obvious solution is to release them from their obligation to serve those streets because of the hardship, and rebid the franchise for those streets. Or just allow competitive service where it is too difficult for GreenWaste to service. Of course, if those neighborhoods intentionally narrowed their streets after the contract was let...
In construction, a contractor who wins a bid eats his mistakes.


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