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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 Council Ignores Recommendation on Prop 218

On June 25, 2012, the City of Jackson scheduled an agenda item to rescind a resolution for an ACES Waste Services garbage rate increase. City Manager Mike Daly recommended rescinding the rate increase. Daly also recommended that the City provide the notification required by Proposition 218. Prior to meeting in public, the Council discussed in closed session the lawsuit filed by Jackson resident Bill Orescan to compel the City to comply with Prop 218. After the closed session, the item to rescind the resolution was removed from the agenda and was not discussed.

Last year, the Sutter Creek City Council also refused to comply with Prop 218 after RPA informed them of the requirements. A Sutter Creek resident filed a lawsuit and the City eventually settled the suit by agreeing to comply with Prop 218 for all future rate increases, after paying several tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees.

Amador County also raised the rates ACES charges in unincorporated areas last year. The County did comply with Prop 218 and no protests were made, presumably because the ratepayers believed the increases were justified. Ken Berry, who informed the Jackson City Council of the examples of Sutter Creek and the County, said “I don’t understand why local officials don’t let the people they represent have their right to protest. The people made Prop 218 part of the California Constitution. I think it makes the Council members look bad when citizens have to sue them to have the Constitution respected, particularly when a similar lawsuit had just been won.”

Jackson’s City Attorney reasoned that because Jackson does not require every resident to obtain solid waste disposal services from ACES, Prop 218 does not apply. However, Sutter Creek adopted the same policy, prior to settling the lawsuit and agreeing that Prop 218 does apply. Orescan said “We elect the Council and the Council decides whether or not to increase the rates. I think that means the City is raising the rates, and Prop 218 says the people, not the Council, have the final say.” RPA has found that citizens are increasingly concerned with costs passed onto them without adequate justification.