Alpaugh resident rebuts trash rate hike

(Rigo Moran)

Tulare County Board of Supervisors approves waste disposal rate increase, raising concerns about impact on Alpaugh residents

TULARE COUNTY – The Board of Supervisors recently approved a 7.11% rate increase for solid waste disposal in certain areas of the county, prompting an Alpaugh resident to express concerns about the financial burden this could pose on fixed-income residents.

During a May 24 meeting, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a request from the county’s solid waste department to accept a rate increase of 7.11% from Franchise Hauler, a solid waste management company, in select locations of the county, which includes the community of Alpaugh. During public comment, one member of the Alpaugh community council, Roger Strickland, expressed his concerns about raising the rates for waste collection.

Strickland explained many of the people in Alpaugh already need places to dump their waste, and noted that increasing trash disposal rates will only make that more difficult. 

“We’ve been working together to keep our little town clean,” Strickland said. “Seventy five percent of Alpaugh residents are probably on a fixed income…every three months (the trash bill costs around)…$80 or $90. That’s a lot of money out of a fixed income salary.”

He noted most residents have to take their garbage to the occasional free dumping event in Earlimart, which is a 30 mile round trip. He continued by saying that when there is a dumping event, many people don’t hear about it in time because it is not well-advertised.

“I don’t think they put enough work into getting the customers out there because they only have about half of their potential customers in Alpaugh that (have adequate trash service),” Strickland said.

Supervisor Pete Vander Poel III thanked Strickland for taking the time to come to the meeting from Alpaugh and gave his two cents on the issue surrounding trash disposal rates.

“Any rate increase, whether it’s a 7.11% increase, or one and a half percent…is not an easy increase to pass on to consumers,” Vander Poel said. “But I think we have to remember…so much is being required of these solid waste haulers’ compliance with state laws and regulations that just continue to add to their costs.”

The added costs Vander Poel was referring to include covering the cost of insurance, minimum wage increases and fuel increases among other things. He noted the cost increases also get passed to the county to pay for the landfills. 

Vander Poel continued to explain that, in the franchise agreements with haulers, the county required they conduct community cleanup events in various communities throughout Tulare County. He even said that he has worked with American Refuse/Tule trash to hold these events in Alpaugh in the past.

“I will reach out to American Refuse and get some information about when the next upcoming cleanup event is going to be,” Vander Poel said.

He also noted he will reach out to an Alpaugh resident who works for Tule Trash, who he thinks would be a great representative for the community. Two representatives from American Refuse and Tule Trash were also at the meeting, to whom Vander Poel directed Strickland to for more information.

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