Sewer and trash collection fees are going to be going up for Taft property owners over the next five years. The increases will be seen on property tax bills starting this year and continuing through the fiscal year 2017-18.
The Taft City Council approve the increases following a public hearing and a count of protests from property owners.
Only a few protests were received, a tiny fraction of the number needed to halt the increases.
The cost of trash collection for a single family residence will go to $14.35 each month for the current year, then increase to $18.81 by 2017-18.
That charge includes a new street sweeping fee.
Monthly sewer rates will go up from $23.33 this year to $31 in 2017-18.
The council said they had no choice, and the Kern County Board of Supervisors is in the process of raising rates for unincorporated Taft.
“We've been discussing this issue for the last two to three years and its coming to a head,” said Councilman Randy Miller.
Th city is “desperately in need” of repairs for the wastewater treatment plant jointly operated by the city and Kern County through a special district.
“We've got to take care of what we have,” said Councilman Ron Waldrop.
“I don't like rate increases but it's one of those things that's necessary,” Councilman Orchel Krier said.
City Clerk Louise Hudgens and Finance Director Teresa Binkley tallied the protests votes for both the sewer and refuse fees.
The city mailed out 3,116 ballots on the sewer fee and received just 39 protests, just over one percent, Mayor Paul Linder said.
“We appreciate everyone understanding our rates have to go up,” Linder said.
For the refuse fees, just 46 protests out of 3,151 ballots sent out were received.