Kern County wants to raise your property tax bill, and you weren’t invited to the conversation.
Here’s what happened:
When the State of California adopted SB 1383 in 2016 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, all counties were expected to develop implementation plans that would change the way we haul and process our garbage. We were given until 2022-2023 to comply.
Kern County Public Works presented the case publicly and made it clear that cost increases were inevitable to bring Kern County into compliance.
Incorporated communities (those with city governments) were able to make their own plans, but unincorporated areas (outside of city limits) rely on the County to make the decision for them.
But while communities like Ridgecrest, for example, put in months of work to hold town hall meetings and rearrange trash collection schedules to offset costs, rural Kern County heard crickets.
That’s because on February 7, 2023, the County Board of Supervisors approved a number of new agreements with trash haulers that would charge customers for trash collection on their property taxes instead of on a quarterly or monthly bill. These agreements were made between the County and the haulers and passed on a Consent Agenda, which means that the County passed them all in one motion without discussion.
Rural homes that may not have paid for trash collection before will now be required to, and they will see an additional charge of $559.80 to their property taxes if this proposal is allowed to pass.
Cal Recycle also approved Kern County for Low Population Density waivers, but there is no public discussion on record about these waivers. Most of Kern County is considered to have a low population density. If you want to check if your region of Kern County is considered low density, you can follow this link and zoom in until you find your census tract: tinyurl.com/KernMap
In order to stop this fee, over 50 percent of property owners in the proposed collection area have to formally protest to the Board of Supervisors by May 23, 2023. We encourage rural residents to ask who made these plans without us, why we never heard about a population density waiver, and why we are only now being asked to protest a plan we had no part in making.
Otherwise, they will declare that public protest has failed, and they will be allowed to approve ongoing rate increases for the next five years without public input.
If you need a template to help you write a protest letter, email .