Wednesday Aug 03 2011
Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal suing city
Lawsuit alleges city failed to follow Prop 218 procedures
Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal, Colfax’s former trash collector, is suing the city and Recology Auburn Placer over the city’s decision in June to award a 10-year-trash collection contract to Recology beginning July 1. During the July 27 city council meeting, Colfax City Attorney Alfred Cabral said the lawsuit alleges Colfax failed to follow Proposition 218 procedures by not taking the service change decision to a public vote. “Tahoe Truckee also sought a preliminary injunction on July 20th to stop the city and Recology from executing the service agreement until the merits of the case are determined in Placer County Superior Court,” Cabral said. “The judge quickly decided Prop 18 doesn’t apply and declined the injunction request.” The constitutional amendment, approved by voters in November 1996, requires local governments to get voter approval of taxes and assessments related to property. The city and Recology will file a formal response to the suit by the end of August. “Even if they [TTSD] win the case, they won’t get the contract back with the city,” said City Manager Bruce Kranz. “Worse case is the city would be ordered a 45-day notice triggering a possible rate change.” In other business, City Manager Kranz reported the city’s May unemployment rate was 15.3%, down from 15.8 percent in May 2010. Kranz said Colfax’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the county. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Placer County’s May unemployment is 10.8 percent, and the state’s is at 11.8 percent. The city’s labor force is approximately 1,000 people. Due to declining property assessments in Placer County, Colfax will receive approximately $10,600 less in assessment fees than in 2010. “This is a manageable problem for the city,” Kranz said. “The good news is there wasn’t a reduction in sales tax allocations, which is the city’s primary income from the state.” Kranz also reported the city has received preliminary approval from the State Water Resource Control Board for a $12,834,600 financing agreement to complete required sewer treatment plant improvements and to refinance existing debt associated with the plant. Financing is available through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program. The city will seek formal approval on Sept. 6.