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Council trashes 20-gallon can requirement

DAN FOSCALINA

Hardware stores in the Truckee area won’t be stocking up on 20-gallon trash cans any time soon.

Under the recently approved rate increase for garbage collection service, Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal originally structured rates to include one 20-gallon can each week for the $104.46 annual parcel charge.

According to Town Manager Steve Wright, however, TTSD amended the rate structure to essentially throw out the smaller garbage can.

“The 32-gallon can will be the number utilized as far as the basic level of service,” Wright said during last week’s town council meeting. “The 20-gallon can will go away as a point of discussion.”

Councilmembers met last Thursday to discuss the Nevada County Board of Supervisors memorandum of understanding approved June 24 asking the town to enter a 30-year agreement to complete the Hirschdale Landfill closure in exchange for the county reinstating its regular parcel charge for garbage collection for one year.

Town’s position

But the town contends the landfill is a byproduct of all county residents, not just those in Truckee. And if Truckee is responsible for closing the landfill over the next 30 years, it should also be responsible for the property and timber taxes the county collects as part of its Eastern County Solid Waste Removal budget – about $120,000 each year – for the next 30 years.

“(Supervisors) want a 30-year commitment to help fund the cost to close the Hirschdale Landfill,” Wright told councilmembers. “We said solid waste cost is partially subsidized by Truckee taxpayers.

“If they want a 30-year commitment from the town you should have a 30-year commitment for those funds, which will help keep garbage collection costs down in Truckee.”

Supervisors approved the MOU with no reference to the timber and sales tax monies. They also passed the MOU to fund the current parcel charge for garbage collection for this year.

“If you execute the existing MOU as the county proposes, you would be threatening the potential loss of those revenue sources that keep Truckee refuse rates down,” Wright said.

Councilmembers were posed with three options:

— sign the MOU as-is.

— agree to a modified MOU addressing the parcel charges and the solid waste budget monies.

— reject the MOU and contract with TTSD for garbage service via a full billing cycle for each household.

— leave garbage collection up to the county.

Eastern county

In terms of the final option, Wright said County Service Area-7, which includes all of Nevada County east of Donner Summit, was established before town incorporation, and the timber and property taxes were collected there to fund the solid waste budget. In effect, the town could let the county reassume its refuse collection duties outlined by the Local Area Formation Commission.

“If the county reassumes its responsibilities under CSA-7, those taxes are preserved and Truckee rate payers would take advantage of them,” Wright said.

Mayor Bob Drake said the county’s MOU request is asking for too much from Truckee and speculated supervisors might rescind their parcel charge decision.

“I think the county has made it pretty clear that unless we agree to this MOU their prior vote to reaffirm the parcel charge would be canceled,” Drake said.

Drake also said he believes the council is unhappy with the Hirschdale closure requirement.

“It (was) a county landfill and for Truckee to take responsibility for that is wrong,” Drake said.

Councilmembers approved the MOU 4-1 with concerns cited. Drake was the dissenting vote and he said after supervisors hear Truckee’s concerns, the MOU issue will return to the council.

In the meantime, TTSD’s rate increase is on the back burner. TTSD Manager Jeff Collins said effective July 1, the garbage collection company is not sure if or when it will collect money.


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