The new program cannot take effect until a hearing considering new changes in garbage fees will be held at the Tuesday, June 3 City Council meeting.
The program will be funded by late fees paid for by regular rate payers.
Currently, the city collects more than $60,000 a year in late fees. As a result, the city council deemed it necessary to use these funds to offset the cost of the senior discount program, giving those that qualify at $10 rate to break off the full cost rate of $28.93.
That rate is expected to go up 3.9 percent each of the next five years starting in July with a $1.09 increase in July of 2014.
After discussing the possibility of a discount program without an age restriction, the council decided to follow the advice of City Attorney Tom Hallinan, who suggested other cities under his purview simply offer discounts to seniors who have needs to reduce the overall cost of the program.
The discount program for seniors will follow the Turlock Irrigation District income guidelines for help.
The $10 discount would be able to help some 568 senior homes in the city, according to staff estimates based on the $68,199 in late fees collected in the Fiscal Year ending in 2013.
At this time, 830 households qualify for the senior rate plan without income requirements. A low income program without an age restriction would’ve carried approximately 710 homes in Patterson—more than the 568 that the late fees would pay for.
“I get the discount but don’t need it,” Patterson resident Mary Clemmer told the council during public comment on the matter. “I would rather give it to someone who needs it. Seniors who need it should get it. Just because I’m old doesn’t mean I need it.”
Nick Rappley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-568-9975.