Tag Archives: Chico Trash Tax

Insubordination Downtown – whattya gonna do? Call Ghostbusters?

4 Feb

I asked all of you to contact your council representative and ask about the trash tax and so I did same. I wrote to the city clerk Debbie Presson and asked her how to agendize a discussion for an upcoming meeting. I got no response. So I waited a week or so and wrote to clerk Dani Rogers – she responded with this –

The citizen request has to be sponsored by a Councilmember.  The Councilmember would bring the request forward.  You can email the full Council and see if one takes up the issue, or you can work with your district Councilmember to try to get them take it up. You can also address the Council from Business From the Floor and ask that they take up the item on a future agenda.”

I won’t waste my time contacting any members of council, they don’t respond. I’d rather go to the meeting and take it up from the Floor – at least then it’s on the record. But you know, that means going Downtown at night. I don’t mind admitting, I don’t go Downtown at all anymore, certainly not at night. I’ll have to think about it.

I sure miss Kelly Meagher, he used to make the meetings worth attending. I’ll never forget the night he got into an argument with Dan Herbert – back in the days when there was a real back-and-forth exchange between council members and citizens. Some people would say Kelly liked to tie one on before a meeting – who cares, he was magnificent. Dan kept coming at Kelly with the city line, and Kelly just kept coming right back at him. It got so Dan couldn’t get a word in, Kelly just kept ramming him down. Finally Kelly ran out of breath. Dan sat on the dais with a tired grin, as usual, the meeting had gone on too long. Kelly stood at the podium waiting for an answer, Dan just shook his head and laughed – Dan could be a real good natured guy sometimes. Finally he said, “Kelly, you’ve interrupted me so many times, I can’t remember what I was going to say…” Everybody laughed and the meeting went on.

Mark Sorensen, former council member and current city manager, has put an end to that type of back-and-forth conversation at meetings, he’s put an end to public input, he’s closed meetings as much as possible. He got a lawyer to tell council they don’t have to respond to their constituents anymore unless those constituents agree with them, or yeah – gave them some big bucks at election time. This is mutiny on the Bounty as far as I’m concerned, pure, willful insubordination. They think we won’t fight, maybe they’re right.

The new trash deal is going to stink

14 Aug

Tomorrow Chico City Council will finalize the trash deal. I’ve read and commented on it for years now, this latest draft still has a lot of problems.

  • they will require everybody to pay for a yard waste bin
  • if bins are damaged, including graffitti, more than once, the customer is on the hook for the replacement of the bin – no prices included, we have to wait til our bin is damaged to find out
  • no rates published, but Waste Management is allowed to raise our rates at will with the CPI

Right now my family pays about $25 for a 96 gallon bin which we share with our tenants. Nobody would tell me what the new rates would be, but I’ve checked in other towns – we should expect to pay $25 for a 35 gallon bin under the new deal, so the bigger bins will be closer to $35 and $50 a month. Plus the additional whatever for the yard waste bin. Recycling will also be required, but free. 

I’ve howled about this deal, which former mayor Mark Sorensen called a “trash tax.” I don’t think the public will pay attention until they get their new bills. We’ll see what kind of stink rises up over Chico when people find out, trash service will not be mandatory under this  deal, just a lot more expensive!

Hi Council,

I just wanted a few last words before you hit us with  the trash tax.

I won’t pay for a yard waste bin I don’t need. I’ve got rentals, I do my own yard work and hauling, I pay to take the stuff to the green waste facility on Cohasset, so I shouldn’t have to pay for yard waste bins for tenants who don’t do any yard work.   Besides, why should I have to have a third truck stop in front of my property, every week?

Also, they should have to tell us how much these bins cost, UP FRONT, if they are going to require us to replace them when they get damaged/tagged. That also makes the yard waste bin a liability I don’t need.

Waste Management should also have a rate schedule on their website that is good for a year. When I tried to sign up for Waste Management earlier this year, the dispatcher gave me old rates, and told me she had no idea what the rates would be when the franchise takes effect in October. That’s called “bait and switch”.

Thank you  for your anticipated cooperation – Juanita Sumner, Chico


Nature Center lease to come to council next month; nothing “of a public nature to share” on Trash Tax

10 Sep

I went to the Internal Affairs meeting at 8am yesterday only to be told that the meeting would be delayed 45 minutes because “the chair can’t make it”. I cooled my heels for 45 minutes until Chair Tami Ritter walked in with wet hair carrying a steaming cup of drive-thru coffee, but I realized my topic would not come up until well after 9:30 and I had to be elsewhere. So I left with questions unanswered – sometimes it’s just more efficient to e-mail staff anyway.

So I did. I asked Assistant City Manager Chris Constantin about the Nature Center lease – this seemed appropriate since staff was introducing a new leasing policy. Constantin  says the new leasing policy needs to be approved by council and then they will tackle the Nature Center lease at some point in “late October, early November.”  Apparently the city has no specific leasing policy, they just negotiate with people on a case by case basis. Badly. Council is smart to start spelling out policy, that’s really how the city got into this mess in the first place. 

I saw several points on the proposed policy that should bring the Nature Center’s possession and use of the buildings in Bidwell Park into question.   Unfortunately, it’s up to Council, a subjective decision based on favoritism. We’ll have to see how they play it. 

The other question I had wanted to ask was not on the agenda for yesterday’s meeting – the garbage franchise, more aptly known as The Trash Tax. I’ve been asking city manager Orme for information, for a public discussion, for a year or so now, and I keep getting the same answer – we’re in negotiations. 

Well, who the hell is “we”?  When will the ratepayers be brought into the negotiations? I’m sorry, I have the feeling we have already been brought into the negotiations – like a piece of meat hung over a dog pit.

So I asked Constantin, sometimes he’ll at least give a hint of what’s going on. But he deferred to Orme, saying, “As for franchising, Mark is taking the lead on this with the consultant, so I don’t have anything of a public nature to share.”

Well there it is. Shake it, don’t break it, wrap it up and I’ll take it.