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The Watchdog
Howard Jarvis Requests Sutter Creek Garbage Protest Recount

About RPA
Ratepayer Protection Alliance (RPA) was formed to support the rights of the people of Amador County against unfair rate increases, which are usually used to subsidize special interests. Recently, RPA has assisted citizens who successfully protested several water rate increases. RPA is committed to ensuring that water, wastewater and garbage rates in Amador County are justified, and do not unfairly burden local residents.

RPA works hard to minimize costs of informing the public of unfair rate increases. RPA operates on the donated time of volunteers and no one is paid for their efforts. Donations for postage costs can be sent to:
Ratepayer Protection Alliance
P.O. Box 51
Pine Grove CA 95665

Howard Jarvis Requests Sutter Creek Garbage Protest Recount

On May 6, 2013, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) sent a letter to Sutter Creek City Manager Sean Rabe concerning the protest count for a recent garbage rate increase. HJTA requests a recount of the parcels eligible to protest, and a recount of the protests themselves.

Director of HJTA Legal Affairs Timothy A. Bittle indicated that an HJTA member researched the mailing lists and found that Sutter Creek invalidated the successful protest by artificially inflating the total number of parcels needed to defeat the increase, and by disqualifying valid protests.

The City of Sutter Creek claimed that there were 1,174 parcels in which an owner or tenant was eligible to protest the garbage rate increase. However, approximately 90 parcels on the City's notification list were ineligible to protest either because the parcel is undeveloped, the parcel is not within the City, the parcel does not exist, or the parcel is listed more than once.

The City rejected valid protests too. Bittle pointed out that in some cases “protests were rejected because one spouse is named on the ACES account and the other spouse signed the protest, or because a tenant is named on the ACES account and the owner signed the protest, or because the protester, despite being an ACES customer, was not on the ACES list…The fact that 43 of 50 sampled protests were improperly disqualified suggests that most of the rejected protests should have been counted.”

The City has the burden to prove the accuracy of its calculations. HJTA has requested that the City conduct a recount or that the City explain the reasoning of its position on the matter.

Read the letter

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