On Tuesday there was a public hearing to allow residents to voice thier concerns over a series of rate increases on home owner trash rates. The first set of rates were ANTICIPATED rate increases at the San Bernardino County Landfills & a reduction of compenstation Burtecc the cities contracted refuse hauler recives from shipping our recycling materials to China. The second was a highly contriversal Road Repair Tax that would raise money to do over $53 million in backlogged street repairs that the City and Council have refused to address.
There were many people speaking out against the rate increases and the tax but it appears the city council didn’t care and came in with thier minds made up already. One resident pointed out that factoring everything together the rates were increasing 30% and that was highway robbery. June Hayes a Utilities Commisioner said she was tired of the city nickel and diming the resdents she was speaking manily to the Road Repair Tax as she has a long close relationship with the cities trash hauler and its manager Riachard Nino who was in attendance but did not speak on this issue.
The study that Public Works Director Marcus Fuller used to draft this tax was a study done by the City of Redlands. Marcus Fuller stated that the study was done to show the amount of damage trash trucks caused to city streets. Mr. Fuller didn’t come right out about who did the study it was long time city resident David Phillips that pointed out that Redlands did the study and looked at the damage and then decided NOT to leavy this tax on thier residents. Mr. Phillips attacked the Road Repair Tax and pointed out the diffrences between Rialto & Redlands. Mr. Phillips asked the City Council to send Mr. Fuller back to the drawing board and get his hands out of the residents pockets.
Council asked Mr. Fuller if Redlands implemented this Tax on thier residents and Mr. Fuller said “no Rialto would be the first in the state of California to approve such a tax”. This isnt the first time Rialto City Officals have used Redlands as a template for Rialto policies. Earlier in the year the Beautification Committee used redlands business beautifications and advertising codes to draft thier plan for Rialto. The two cities are beyond different and should not be used as a template for Rialto City policies especially when it comes to taxing the community at large.
Mr. Fuller was asked if this rate increase was at Burttec’s request and he said no that this was being brought by the city alone. So what does Mr. Fuller do right after the vote to approve his illegal tax on residents? He runs outside to have a secret pow wow with Richard Ninos from Burttec. Hmm so why was it so important to have that conversation? Redlands is smart they have people sitting in council that want to be re-elected and a mayor running for a second time for Congress. They decided to not levy this TAX on their residents because they know that such an action would do considerable damage to their future political aspirations.
Both Ed Palmer and Shawn O’Connell were in full support of taxing the residents because they saw no other way of dealing with the massive amount of ignored street repairs. Mayor Robertson made no noteable comments on this issue. Joe Baca Jr. wanted to wait until after his re-election to vote on this issue and since that was not favorable he voted no, Lynn Hirtz looked at it in a different way. She saw the Road Repair Tax was nessicary way to begin tackling the mountain to road repairs but want to see if it was acctually going to bring in the expected revenues or be a failed method of dealing with the problem at hand. So she made a motion that they move forward with the 5 years of rate increses and approve the Road Repair Tax for one year so they could look at how the program was working and if it was needed. This was the favorable choice and this motion passed 4-1.
Outside after the public hearing many residents stood baffled by the lack of understanding and willingness to listen to the community. Residents asked Mr. Fuller outside of the meeting how much of thier money would it take to subside his hunger for thier pennies and dimes. Mr. Phillips asked Mr. Fuller if he should just sign over his paycheck every month (refering to the Public Works Directors constant money grabs and failed ability to properly bid contracts and waste tax payer dollers). Many of the residents outside the meeting were newer residents and had many questions and blamed actions like this on the reason why mistrust for elected officals was at an all time high.
So Rialto puts $1.5 million each year into road maintenance and this new tax will put out $600,000 the first year and by 2018 it will bring in $4.9 Million a year. As of today we are $53 Million Dollars in the hole with unaddressed road repairs that just isn’t going to cut it. This is like having a glass of water and throwing it at a raging fire its just not going to cut it.
The funny part is the city leavys this tax on the public without a vote from residents but they will be asking us in November to allow them to leavy a heafty fee on the Tank Farms in the southern half of the city that will bring in a reported $5-$10 Million a year. So we ask you here this poll Question: