A Southern Oregon Sanitation rate increase was presented to the Cave Junction City Council April 10 at City Hall.
Councilors Tina Casey Jones and Jean Ann Miles were present alongside Mayor Meadow Martell, with Councilors Ethan Lane and Jesse Dugas attending via Zoom.
A presentation was given to the council by SOS community and government affairs manager Nick Fahey. He explained that the “last locally owned garbage company in Southern Oregon” is asking the council to allow a 12% rate increase in the services that they provide. Fahey elaborated that over the course of 2022, inflation caused the company’s expenses to increase significantly and that in order to keep up with the rising costs of garbage and recycling, SOS must increase their prices to maintain the status quo.
Councilor Lane asked if this increase would impact local businesses and residents, to which Fahey responded that yes, the general rate increase would affect everybody. Lane then broached the concern that the rate increase did not seem to match the customer count that Fahey supplied within his presentation.
Councilor Jones wanted to know if there would be any options available to lower-income residents who would struggle significantly with this adjustment. Fahey responded, “No, SOS does not offer any decreased pricing for lower-income residents,” and that instead, the company encourages lower income households to “adjust their spending habits” and figure out how to reduce and reuse as much as possible.
The council will make a final decision on this matter at their meeting in May.
During city council liaison briefings some the following topics were discussed:
1) Lane stated that the Collaborative Economic Development Committee has recently been considering how to make the local airport viable for the county;
2) Jones spoke about the recent Parks & Rec meeting, mentioning that the playground renovation and splash pad are still being discussed, and that the possibility of bringing pickleball to the community has been broached;
3) Councilor Miles backed up Jones, adding that she appreciated the out-of-the-box perspectives that community members had to offer;
4) Councilor Dugas briefly mentioned the school district has several projects moving forward; and
5) Mayor Martell spoke about the focus that the Destination Ready program has on local lodging and camping areas.
Alex Ponder and Teresa Stover gave their respective public works and library renovation updates, with both assuring the council that their department’s projects were running smoothly. Several park use requests were approved, and Illinois Valley News publisher Dan Mancuso received approval from the council to hold the second annual Soapbox Derby on Schumacher Street in July.