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ORANGE : City’s Decision on Trash Fees Postponed

Citing a need for more information, the City Council has decided to postpone a controversial decision on whether to raise fees for sanitation services.

The council was supposed to decide last week whether to tack on $1.87 to monthly sanitation bills, which average about $12 for a single-family residence. The fees would help pay for the city’s material recovery program, designed to help the city meet a state mandate to divert 25% of its garbage from landfills by 1995.

The council is scheduled to reconsider the fee increase on March 15. This is the second time in as many weeks the council has postponed a decision on the fees.

After a lengthy presentation from city staff Tuesday night, council members said they needed more information before voting on the matter.

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Among other things, council members said they wanted the staff to clarify how the city would use a material recovery facility in the future and whether the council has any latitude in setting the amount for a fee increase.

“They will bring back more information that is easier to understand,” Councilwoman Joanne Coontz said. “It’s a very complex issue.”

About a dozen of the approximately 50 Orange residents in attendance spoke against the proposed fee increases.

“Taxes are like termites,” Betty Roberts said. “If you don’t stop them, you won’t have a home.”

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City officials said they probably will not charge residents to pay for a weed abatement program. If the council drops the weed charge, the proposed fee hike would fall to about $1.

The council warned residents, however, not to interpret the delay as opposition to the fee.

“We have to look at it,” Councilman Mike Spurgeon said. “It’s not going to go away. We can’t just stick our head in the sand. We are going to have to pay some figure.”


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