PLACENTIA : Council to Keep Way It Collects Trash Bills

The trash wars continue as city officials declined this week to change billing methods for garbage pickup as requested by a group of residents.

Council members have been dogged in recent months by residents who are opposed to having their trash fees placed on property tax bills.

Residents also complained to the council Tuesday night about a recent requirement that homeowners must use a third trash can issued by the city and keep yard waste separate from other refuse.

Placentia homeowners pay $172 a year for trash pickup, which is added to their property tax bills. Some residents say the billing method, in which trash fees are collected by the county, returned to the city and then paid to the trash hauler, is needlessly complex.

"Somebody's getting our money in advance and somebody's using our money before the trash haulers ever get it," resident James Stoddart said.

But city Finance Director Howard Longballa said trash fees for most property owners are included with monthly mortgage and tax payments. And for residents whose homes are paid off, the first of two annual payments is made after five months of trash service. The due date for the second payment comes with two months of trash pickup service remaining.

Longballa said trash rates, which were raised to $14.36 from $12.79 a month beginning in July, would rise by another $3.80 a year if the city switched to a direct billing method.

Resident Luci Grismer said homeowners should have been able to vote on the issue.

"They never asked our permission, that's my main objection," Grismer said. "We should have more control over our own lives."

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