Tahoe district moves closer to mandating bear-proof containers
The Union news service
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INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Elected officials will vote next year on mandating wildlife-resistant trash containers for every commercial and residential property in Incline Village and Crystal Bay.
The Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to draft a new trash ordinance and a 10-year contract extension into 2027 with Waste Management to continue providing solid waste service to the community.
The board is tentatively scheduled to make a final vote at the Feb. 26, 2014, meeting, after a public hearing. If approved, the controversial new law would likely go into effect next summer.
Trustees Joe Wolfe and Bill Devine — who voted against the proposal — and several residents Tuesday questioned why the district would commit to a 13-year contract extension with Waste Management, rather than letting the current agreement expire in 2017 and putting the service out to public bid.
“You’re giving away the store here. I suggest you do an RFP, see what bids you get, and after you see what you have and see what the cost is … then make a decision,” said Incline resident Aaron Katz.
Wolfe said trustees “have a fiduciary responsibility … to provide the best value for our community.”
“To just extend this contract out I feel is not in the best interest of this community at this time,” he said.
Trustee Jim Hammerel — who along with Bruce Simonian and Jim Smith voted in favor of moving forward — disagreed.
“I want to make sure we do this the best way possible for the community … not the cheapest way possible, but the best way,” Hammerel said. “To wait three more years and to have more problems, and the community to look like trash … to hopefully save a buck … I think it’s a shame.”
There are roughly 2,900 trash pick-ups per week and 150,000 pick-ups per year throughout the community, according to IVGID. Since 2005, the district has received 864 trash complaints through Nov. 16 of this year, 355 of which were wildlife-related.
However, from Sept. 16 to Nov. 16, 2013, the district recorded 68 complaints due to a recent switch to more proactive enforcement, 29 of which were wildlife related, with more (50 of 68) coming from commercial properties.
The statistics show “the current system does not work,” Interim General Manager and Public Works Director Joe Pomroy said Tuesday.
The proposed ordinance would require Waste Management to supply new wildlife-resistant Dumpsters to the community’s some 300 commercial properties (which include homeowner and condo associations). For most properties, that means an average rate increase of $19.67 per month.
Meanwhile, mandatory totes would increase trash rates for most residents by about 30 percent.
Some rates would see small decreases if residents or properties already have bear-proof containers.
Incline resident Jim Dykstra said mandatory is not the way to go.
“If you starve out an animal that’s bigger and stronger than you … they’re going to get into homes and break into cars more than you’ve ever seen before … you’re driving a wild animal into a corner,” he said. “I really think you’re moving really fast on something that has a lot of problems.”
Incline resident Pamela Gartin — who started a petition that had gathered more than 260 signatures (90 from Incline residents) to enforce the new law by Tuesday — shared a different view.
“It’s very important we do something sooner rather than later,” she said. “The new ordinance will mitigate the human-bear conflict. Human health and safety is threatened by the status quo … with scattered garbage across the community.”
Along with adjusted rates, the proposed ordinance will include provisions for streamlined recycling and pine needle collection, along with steeper fines for first- and second-time offenders who fail to properly secure their trash.
To view more of what’s proposed, download the meeting agenda here.
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