BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a revised plan to delay the increase of land use fees for outlying areas across Kern County.
The land use fees will help pay the costs of complying with state mandates to divert organic waste from our landfills and establish a universal solid waste collection system.
The revised plan came after heavy debate on the merits of a plan and the effect it could have on those in rural areas with fixed incomes who could see hefty hikes in their property tax bills.
“A lot of things kind of get slipped through and we don’t always get to vote and we don’t always get to have a say in what happens and that to me is not fair when it comes to having to pay this kind of money,” Kern County resident Tanya Barling said. “There’s a lot of folks up there that can’t afford it and I just hope that this can be fixed and I just hope they don’t put these kind of prices on these people.”
Vic Yacobucci a property owner in Kern County said, “We’re taxed to death here there’s no more water in that watering hole it’s got to stop now.”
Impassioned opposition convinced the board to ask public works to drastically revamp the plan leading to a proposal to delay for another six months for most outlying communities where mandatory trash collection is required.
“We thought it would help delay that for six months to lower that first-year costs while at the same time staff goes back there and comes up with a greater plan to become compliant with state senate bill 1383,” Kern County Public Works Interim Director Josh Champlin said.
According to Champlin, State Senate Bill 1383 requires local governments to divert 75% of their organic waste from landfills by 2025.
“That’s kind of the rock and the hard place that we’re between is that we have to put this in on behalf of the state to make sure the state can reach their goals,” Champlin said.
But with opposition from residents and the supervisors on imposing increases in outlying areas, the board approved focusing on Metro-Bakersfield and using the next six months to come up with something that works best for the other areas.
“We are instituting the Metropolitan Bakersfield area on July first and that alone gets us about 60% compliant with the total 100% compliance of the county so we kind of see that as the first entry point for the county and also to show the state that we’re serious about getting to these goals,” Champlin said.
This may leave residents on a cliffhanger as to what might happen next.