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Council to discuss trash rate increase tonight

DAN FOSCALINA

All the trash-talking around town hall these past few weeks might have been for naught.

Because Nevada County’s board of supervisors last week unanimously approved signing a memorandum of understanding regarding the parcel fees for garbage service in the eastern portion of the county, town councilmembers are now faced with the decision to accept or reject the MOU during tonight’s regular meeting.

Under the terms of the MOU, supervisors asked the town to enter into a 30-year agreement to complete the closure of the Hirschdale landfill in exchange for the county reinstating its regular parcel charge for garbage collection for one year.

Rejecting the MOU means the $104.46 parcel charge for garbage service would not be collected this year. Rejecting the MOU could also leave the town without approximately $120,000 in county timber and property taxes paid by Truckee residents and earmarked for the Eastern Nevada County solid waste budget.

“If the county changes the way it distributes those property taxes, it could be substantial for Truckee residents,” Town Manager Steve Wright said during the June 19 town council meeting.

“If you are no longer going to provide the service, those funds ought to be folded into the town,” Town Engineer Jon Lander said.

Truckee sent a letter signed by Mayor Bob Drake asking county officials to exclude the landfill closure from the MOU and deal only with the parcel charge. But supervisors, in their unanimous ruling, did not agree.

Wright said should the parcel charge be rescinded after tonight’s council meeting, it could create a new set of dynamics for refuse collection as the town would be forced to take on full billing for garbage. As costs for service rise, some residents would elect not to use the new system, which would in turn increase costs even more for those residents staying with the service.

Jeff Collins, manager with Tahoe-Truckee Sierra Disposal which hauls garbage for the town, said he doesn’t know where the MOU puts TTSD or its proposed rate structure.

“Effective today (July 1) we don’t know if we are being paid,” Collins said. “We will keep picking up and keeping track of our customers.”

Currently, garbage collection fees are included in the yearly parcel charge of $104.46, which allows residents to generally place several garbage cans outside their homes on collection day.

The proposed rate increase provides for collection of one 20-gallon can per week at the same parcel charge or eight 32-gallon cans per calendar year quarter.

Additional cans, however, will be billed to the customer.

In addition to the cans included with the parcel charge, an extra 32-gallon can per week will cost residents an additional $24.12 each year ($2.01 per month); two extra cans are billed quarterly at $17.70 ($5.90 per month); and extra cans thereafter are billed quarterly at a rate of $2 each.

Collins said the the parcel charge system is fair in that everyone pays and everyone gets service. He also said town cleanliness could suffer if the parcel charge is rescinded.

“It is very fair in that you don’t have to suffer an increase and can still remain with service,” Collins said. “The advantage of the parcel fee is it maintains community cleanliness.”

Town councilmembers will address the issue tonight, July 3. The regular meeting begins at 5 p.m. at Truckee Town Hall, 11570 Donner Pass Road.

Councilmembers will also consider:

— Approving a service contract with Area Transit Management, which oversees Truckee Trolley and Dial-a-Ride operations in town.

— Accepting the Eastern Nevada County Transit Development Plan. Highlights of the plan include a needs assessment, marketing strategies, financing strategies and service options in providing eastern county residents with transportation services.

— The update on the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation petitions.

— Road Committee recommendations regarding the backbone system of roadways that could be maintained by a half-cent sales tax.

— Public Works Director Tom Covey’s staff report regarding the use of Donner Pass Road for the National Championship Pavement Motorcycle Hillclimb.

— Adopting the 1997-98 fiscal year operating budget.

— Providing direction to staff after a presentation by representatives of Southwest Gas updating councilmembers on the natural gas problem.


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