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Jackson Resident Sues City Over Garbage Rates

Jackson resident William Orescan filed a lawsuit against the City of Jackson alleging that the City has violated the Constitutional provisions of Proposition 218 by failing to allow the public the opportunity to protest garbage rate increases. More...

Success Stories

Read about local ratepayers who have successfully protested rate increases.
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About Prop 218

Passed by voters in 1996, Proposition 218 amended the California Constitution to require cities, governments and special districts to allow affected property owners to protest any proposed new or increased property-related fees.
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Garbage Rates - Amador City

ACES Waste Services is the only garbage collection service in Amador County, with 9 service areas.

Amador City's service area is controlled by the Amador City City Council. The city has a franchise agreement giving ACES exclusive rights to the service area so that no other garbage company can compete with ACES in that area.

In exchange for the exclusive agreement, the Council has the responsibility to approve or reject rate increases proposed by ACES. Although the county follows Proposition 218, Amador City has not followed Prop 218 in the past, so the City Council has had the last say in garbage rate increases. Unfortunately, council members do not take the time to fully understand the justification for increases and usually (if not always) approve the rates ACES requests. Without the ability to protest a rate increase via Prop 218, city residents cannot stop a rate increase.

In May 2012, Sutter Creek residents successfully sued Sutter Creek because they did not follow Prop 218 for garbage rate increases. The next time ACES requests a rate increase in Sutter Creek, the citizens will have the opportunity to protest. RPA is hopeful that the other four cities in Amador County (Ione, Jackson, Plymouth and Amador City) will also follow Prop 218 when ACES requests future rate increases.

 

City of Sutter Creek Settles Prop 218 Garbage Suit

Krause, Kalfayan, Benink & Slavens, LLP announced in a press release that the City of Sutter Creek settled a lawsuit with residents Dorothy and Paul Pressnall. In the settlement, the City agreed to pay attorney fees and to follow Proposition 218 requirements on future garbage rate increases as the Pressnalls asked in their suit.

In May 2011, RPA members wrote a letter to the council and attended a meeting to discuss a garbage rate increase requested by ACES Waste for service to Sutter Creek. At the meeting the public asked the Council to follow the law and abide by Prop 218. The City Attorney, told the public that because ACES was a private company, the city was not required to follow the state constitutional amendment that allows ratepayers the opportunity to protest unfair rate increases.

At a second meeting in June 2011, the city responded to a letter from RPA. At that meeting the Council refused to let the public speak on the rate topic, even though new information was presented because the ACES spokesman could not answer questions at the first hearing. Once again the City Attorney told the public and Council that the City was not required to follow Prop 218 for the garbage rate increase.

Having heard both RPA representatives and the City representatives speak, the Pressnalls decided to take legal action to settle the argument. They prevailed and ensured that Sutter Creek residents will not be disenfranchised by their City Council in the future. The City has agreed to abide by Prop 218 for future rate increases and to pay $12,500 for the Pressnallís attorney fees.