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Laguna Beach City Council may increase trash bills to cover inflation, cost increases

With Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach on the left and apartments on the right, a Waste Management truck ha
Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday is set to consider hiking residential refuse bills by 2.5% each of the next three years. The fee hike would take effect in July.
(File Photo)

Laguna Beach might soon find some treasure in its trash.

The City Council on Tuesday is set to consider hiking residential refuse bills by 2.5% each of the next three years. The fee hike would take effect in July.

For single households, that would mean an increase of 46 cents a month or $5.70 a year. The annual cost for single units would ring in at $227.91 this year and peak at $239.45 in July 2021.

Without the increase, existing trash rates, which were last set in July 2016, will not cover inflation, collection services or landfill disposal expenses, according to a city staff report.

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Laguna Beach’s trash rates fall within the county median, according to the report.

At least one resident voiced disapproval.

“This rate increase is way out of line when considering the scope and quality of service!” resident Therese DeGroot wrote in an email to the council. “Shame on you!”

Council to hear presentation on hotel tax increase

Two years after voters approved a 2% increase to the city hotel tax, a citizens oversight committee is expected to give its annual report to the City Council on the fee’s performance.

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Expenditures from the tax — which benefit the Police and Fire Departments, marine safety, public works, utility undergrounding and water quality — totaled $2.6 million in fiscal 2017-18, according to the report.

The committee is asking the city to develop more metrics to analyze the effectiveness of services funded by the transit occupancy tax and to identify more areas where the funds could be put to use.

The committee, with endorsement from City Manager John Pietig, is also asking the council to allot $42,705 to maintain a financial reserve.

Voters hiked the tax from 10% to 12% when they approved Measure LL in 2016.

Council to update public tree removal policy

In other business, the council will take up a delayed decision on the city’s tree-removal policy. The proposed policy would decrease costs and ensure that trees presenting safety hazards can be removed in a more timely manner, according to a city staff report.

Mayor Bob Whalen said at an April 16 council meeting that the tree policy needs to be streamlined. The council decided not to make a decision that day so it could hear a presentation on urban forestry by a landscape manager from Santa Monica.

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

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