Kern County proposes increase in land use fee to combat illegal dumping | News – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2021-05-24 22:37:00 –

Gordon Nip has seen illegal dumping sites in Kern County for decades, and it can still get under his skin.

“I do a lot of hiking in undeveloped areas. Every time I go there, I see a pile of trash, old sofas and old TVs. People just throw them away and I I’m tired of thinking that people would do that in the beautiful countryside, “he said in a telephone interview. “As long as I’m here and it’s been 40 years, I’ve seen illegal dumping, and it was pretty terrible.”

The vice-chairman of the Sierra Club’s Khankaware branch has been aware of illegal activity for decades, but finding a solution has been difficult. These days, this problem seems to be particularly terrible. Especially along the Khan River Parkway, pedestrians complain that there are piles of garbage scattered throughout the area.

But at a supervisory board meeting on Tuesday, local authorities were able to take the first step in addressing a lasting issue.

At the meeting, the county’s Department of Public Works proposed raising land-use fees for all housing in the county to fund illegal dumping cleanup activities in both the county’s unincorporated area and the city itself. intend to do something.

Land use fees are paid annually by the real estate owner to fund waste and recycling facilities and transit stations. The Department of Public Works is proposing to raise land use fees from $ 82.89 to $ 105 for properties with 1-4 units and from $ 66.30 to $ 84 for properties with 5 or more units.

“This issue is far greater than the level that current levels of resources can tackle,” supervisor Zack Scrivner said at a January meeting when the issue was first brought to the board. .. “It’s widespread in the desert and everywhere in the more rural areas of the county, so I think this is a great conversation we have with our city partners.”

This increase is expected to generate more than $ 6 million annually and will be distributed to the various municipalities in Kahn based on the percentage of roads maintained within each jurisdiction. Kern County, which accounts for 59.5 percent of the county’s maintained roads, will receive approximately $ 3.8 million from the proposal.

The county then funded five cleaners stationed throughout Kahn to handle illegal dumping complaints.

“What we really believe is the best is just purification,” said public works director Craig Pope in January. “We don’t want to say we can’t stop it, but we had little luck to slow it down. What we’re pretty lucky is to clean it up. Is the way we know. “

With one crew member assigned to all of Kahn’s unincorporated areas, the Department of Public Works states that more is needed to address this issue.

Prior to the meeting on Tuesday, the county sent a notice to 232,104 parcel owners. If more than 50% of real estate owners file a written protest, the fee increase will be cancelled.

However, the county has received less than 400 protests so far, well below the 116,053 required to invalidate the proposal.

The county has also worked with cities to embark them on fare increases. The Pope said at a meeting in March that some cities were supportive and others were nervous about raising prices. One that the Pope did not name was “completely opposed.”

“They liked the idea of ​​it, but said it was just the wrong time to look for an increase in land use,” the Pope said in March.

The Department of Public Works did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

The city of Bakersfield was in a neutral tone about price increases. Spokesman Joe Conroy referred to the city’s own initiative to deploy a cleanup team, funded by public security and vital services measures.

The $ 1.5 million Clean City Initiative will send teams to the dump locations identified in the Bakersfield mobile app to patrol “hotspots.”

“If additional funding from the county or other sources becomes available in the future, city officials will evaluate, approve and add to the best use of that funding for proper cleaning and waste reduction programs. Direction to present such usage to the city council, “Conroy wrote in an email. “City staff feel that it is very important for us all to work together to keep Bakersfield in top shape for both residents and visitors.”

You can reach Sammorgen at 661-395-7415. You can also follow him on Twitter @ smorgenTBC.

Kern County proposes increase in land use fee to combat illegal dumping | News Source link Kern County proposes increase in land use fee to combat illegal dumping | News

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