TAX ROLL BILLING INFORMATION
While it might not be a favorite topic, trash service, like sewer service, is a necessary municipal function that helps keep Palm Desert neighborhoods clean, healthy, and beautiful. To guarantee that waste is regularly removed from all homes, whether residents remember to pay their trash bill or not, the Palm Desert City Council has approved Tax Roll Billing for residential trash collection service.
Waste services remain unchanged and Burrtec is still the City’s contracted waste hauler. What changes is that Palm Desert customers will no longer be billed quarterly for their trash service beginning with their July, August, September bill. Instead, property owners will see a separate fee on their November 2015 Property Tax Bill for trash service from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. Going forward, the fee for trash service will continue to be assessed annually at the same time each year on property owners’ tax bills.
Practiced by scores of California cities and by six out of the nine cities in the Coachella Valley, tax roll billing will help ensure that Palm Desert remains an ideal place to live, work, and play.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. I am a new resident. What should I do?
A. New residents should contact Burrtec at (760) 340-2113 to establish service as soon as possible and setup a service level that best fits their needs; otherwise, Burrtec may establish service based on the service provided to the previous customer, what is common in the area, or the default service level (64-gallon container). Regardless of whether or not residents call Burrtec to establish service, the trash fee will be reflected on the November Property Tax Bill.
Q. Do I have to have trash service?
A. Yes. The City’s Municipal Code (Ordinance Section 8.16.020) requires every person in charge of a residence or residences in Palm Desert, to have trash service.
Q. When will I receive my bill?
A. In Riverside County, property tax bills are mailed during the first week of October with the first installment due November 1. The County considers property tax bills delinquent if they are not paid by 5 p.m. on December 10. Payments received after this date will be assessed a 10% penalty. The second installment is due February 1 and delinquent if not paid by 5 p.m. on April 10. If either December 10 or April 10 falls on a Saturday, Sunday or County holiday, the delinquency date is the next regular business day.
Q. I only live in Palm Desert part time. Do I have to pay for a full year’s trash service?
A. The City’s agreement with Burrtec includes a provision that allows part-time residents to stop trash service for a period of up to four months. This represents an increase from the prior rule that only allowed one 30-day stop service period. Prior to leaving town, part-time residents should call Burrtec to stop service. Burrtec will issue a refund for the time when service was discontinued. The four months of stop service can be for four consecutive months or it can be split into two two-monthly periods. Please note that a $17.31 charge to restart service will apply.
Q. We are retired and only live in Palm Desert in the winter. Do we have to pay for the summer months when we are not there?
A. No. There are many ‘snowbirds’ who live in Palm Desert during the season and leave for elsewhere in the summer. Simply notify Burrtec and they will stop service for up to four months and process a refund for that period.
Q. I received my tax bill from the County assessor and was surprised to see that my trash collection bill has been added to it. Is this right?
A. Yes, in May 2015, Palm Desert City Council voted unanimously to place fees for trash service on property owner’s tax bills.
Q. How can the City add a tax to the assessor’s bill without my permission?
A. The waste disposal cost is not a tax, it is a fee for service. It is not being assessed against parcels, it is a bill for actual services to residences and businesses.
Q. Is it legal to bill me this way?
A. Yes, many of California’s cities and counties collect the fee for waste services this way.
Q. Why did the City put my waste disposal bill on the assessor’s roll instead of Burrtec billing me directly as they did in the past?
A. Some residences in the community were not paying for trash service, even though it is mandated by the City’s Municipal Code. A portion of the people who were not paying for trash service were dumping their trash in neighbors’ bins or placing their waste in commercial dumpsters at area businesses or in trashcans at local parks. Tax roll billing will help guarantee that all property owners contribute their fair share of the costs of trash service and keep Palm Desert clean and beautiful.
Q. When did all this happen and was the public notified?
A. The City Council held a noticed public hearing about tax roll billing on May 28, 2015. Property owners received a letter about the proposed change from the City prior to the public hearing.
Q. This bill is for the entire year and is for service I haven’t even received yet. Why should I have to pay for it all at once?
A. Property owners do not have to pay the full bill all at once. The Assessor provides the option of paying in two installments, one in the fall and the other in the spring.
Q. I own a rental property. Do I have to pay the bill if it is vacant?
A. The City’s Municipal Code (Ordinance Section 8.16.020) requires every person in charge of a residence or residences in Palm Desert, to have trash service. Because the City and Burrtec are unable to determine or track when a rental property is occupied, vacated, and then reoccupied, service must be established. The City’s agreement with Burrtec includes a provision that allows property owners to stop trash service for a period of up to four months. Burrtec will issue a refund for the time when service was discontinued. Please note that a $17.31 charge to restart service will apply.
Q. I own a rental property. How do I get my tenants to pay for the trash collection bill if it is on my property tax bill?
A. As the property owner, you will need to decide whether the cost of service is absorbed or passed on to the tenant.
Q. I live in a gated community and my homeowners association pays for my trash service. Will I still be assessed the fee on my property tax bill?
A. No. Those property owners that pay for trash service through their homeowners association are exempt from tax roll billing.
Q. I still have questions. Who can I call?
A. For questions regarding trash service, modifications, or billing information, please Contact Burrtec (760) 340-2113. Please call the Public Works Department for additional questions at (760) 776-6450, or email PublicWorks@cpd.com.