Trash rates may increase for those in the Nipomo Community Services District

Property owners and customers in the Nipomo Community Services District could soon pay more for trash collection services if a proposed 11.6 percent rate increase is approved early next year.

The services district board voted 3-2 on Wednesday to start the process to raise rates, with newly seated board members Bob Blair and Craig Armstrong dissenting.

Now, all customers who pay for garbage services have 45 days to protest the proposed increase in writing

A public hearing will be held Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. at the district office to consider whether or not a majority of customers protest the rate increase, which would stop it from moving forward. If approved, the increase would go into effect March 1.If the rate increase moved ahead, residential customers paying $15 a month for a 32-gallon garbage wheeler would see their rate increase to $16.74 a month. Those with a 96-gallon wheeler currently pay $28.16 and would pay $31.43 a month.

District customers have not faced a rate increase for garbage collection services since 2005.

While South County Sanitary Service — which provides the solid waste collection services — has requested increases in past years, the Nipomo district deferred rate hikes by using money from its solid waste reserve account, district General Manager Michael LeBrun said.

South County Sanitary Service requested a 5 percent rate increase in 2011. This year, the company asked for a 3.2 percent increase.

The increase is needed to pay higher fuel costs, higher landfill rates, and other administrative and labor costs, according to the district. A portion of the rate increase would recover the district’s reserve funds and cover its costs to provide past-due and delinquent bill collection services for the garbage company.

The district will send letters to customers next week informing them of the proposed increase.

To protest the rates, a written statement including the address, the assessor’s parcel number and a signature must be mailed to the district office at P.O. Box 326, Nipomo, CA 93444. Written protests can also be dropped off at the district office at 148 S. Wilson St.