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City of Sutter Creek Settles Prop 218 Garbage Lawsuit

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. More Details...

Success Stories

Read about local ratepayers who have successfully protested rate increases.

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.

Jackson Resident Sues City Over Garbage Rates

Krause, Kalfayan, Benink & Slavens, LLP announced in a press release that Jackson resident William Orescan filed a lawsuit in Amador County Superior Court against the City of Jackson. The suit alleges that the City has violated the Constitutional provisions of Proposition 218 by failing to allow the public the opportunity to protest garbage rate increases.

Proposition 218 mandates that before a public agency imposes a property-related fee increase, it must mail information about the fee to every affected property owner and ratepayer, conduct a public hearing, and reject the fee increase if a majority protests. Mr. Orescan asks that Jackson comply with Proposition 218's mandates with respect to Jackson’s garbage collection fees. He also requests that the Court declare garbage rate increases imposed by Jackson in 2009, 2011, and 2012 to be invalid.

The lawsuit alleges that the City failed to mail a Proposition 218-compliant notice regarding the fee increases to the petitioners and to Jackson’s other property owners, and failed to hold a hearing regarding the fee increases. The suit also alleges that the City provided no opportunity to protest and refuses to comply with Proposition 218, as required by law, in the future.

“I want to be sure that the City of Jackson allows its citizens the rights all Californians gave ratepayers when they voted to amend the California Constitution with Proposition 218,” said Orescan. “When the City raises its garbage rates, it must allow the public to have their say. Jackson did not,” he added.

A similar lawsuit was filed against the City of Sutter Creek for not complying with Proposition 218. Sutter Creek eventually settled the suit and agreed to provide ratepayers notice and an opportunity to protest all future rate increases.

On May 14, 2012, the Jackson City Council approved a resolution to increase garbage rates by 3.68% without following Prop 218. The council ignored a letter from RPA member Ken Berry and comments by Judy Jebian made at the meeting. Both Jebian and Berry informed the council about Sutter Creek’s recent lawsuit and settlement for not following Prop 218 and the resultant costs incurred by Sutter Creek for not following the constitutional amendment.

Jackson’s attorney claimed that Sutter Creek was different because Sutter Creek requires that its residents use the waste disposal service and Jackson does not. However, Sutter Creek (like Jackson) does in fact NOT require that its residents use waste disposal service.