Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Majority Protests Sutter Creek Garbage Rate Increase

At a hearing on March 18, 2013, Ratepayer Protection Alliance (RPA) turned in 715 signed garbage rate protests to the Sutter Creek City Council. One person submitted a protest at the meeting and 6 others sent their protest directly to the City before the meeting. A handful of people withdrew protests, so the final number was 716. To stop the rate increase under Proposition 218, 588 protests are needed according to the City.

At the hearing, not one Council member asked any questions, and despite repeated public requests, no one from the City asked ACES to justify the rate increases which total 41% over the next 4.5 years.

On March 22, the Sutter Creek attorney and City staff spent all day counting the protests. City Manager Sean Rabe also participated most of the day. Two RPA representatives, two officers from ACES, and two members of the public were also at the counting.

437 protests were accepted by the city attorney and 279 were rejected. A protest was accepted if it met one or both of the following conditions:

    The name on the protest was on the City’s list of Sutter Creek sewer customers
    The name on the protest was on a list of garbage customers provided by ACES

ACES and the City have refused to provide any information to independently verify the accuracy of either list.

In at least one case, the protest of a well-known couple who have lived in Sutter Creek for decades was rejected because the wife signed the protest, but the husband’s name was in ACES’ records. In another case, an ACES representative objected to counting the name “Jay” because only the single letter “J” appeared on the list.

Cole’s time has already cost the City $2000. He will now make a report for the Council meeting to be held on April 1.

You can email the Sutter Creek City Council and let them know how you feel about using your public funds to disqualify your protests so that a company granted a monopoly by the City does not have to disclose its true costs. Or, you can contact them individually at:

    Mayor Sandy Anderson:
    SAnderson@ci.sutter-creek.ca.us
    267-1167
    Linda Rianda, Council Member:
    LRianda@ci.sutter-creek.ca.us
    267-0397
    Robin Peters, Council Member:
    RPeters@ci.sutter-creek.ca.us
    267-0411
    Tim Murphy, Council Member
    TMurphy@ci.sutter-creek.ca.us
    267-5392
    Jim Swift, Council Member:
    JSwift@ci.sutter-creek.ca.us
    267-0402

Proposition 218 gives residents the right to protest new or increased fees for property-related services. The City of Sutter Creek agreed to follow Proposition 218 only after Sutter Creek residents sued for that right.

More details on ACES' history & franchise agreement

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