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California County explores feasibility of ordinance concerning solid waste 'leakage'.

Concerns about "leakage" dominated county supervisors' discussion of solid waste issues Oct. 18. Supervisor Terry Swofford opposed language in a proposed ordinance that would prohibit individuals or businesses from hauling their trash outside of Plumas County.

Swofford said the issue surfaced five or six years ago when contractors, particularly roofing companies, felt overcharged and began self-hauling their waste to Nevada.

County counsel Craig Settlemire said the prohibition was a way to provide economies of scale to local solid waste franchisees InterMountain Disposal and Feather River Disposal.

The prohibition makes sure waste is "appropriately transported," he added. The county would not want trash and debris "flying on highways."

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said, "In general, I don't like to see restrictions to trade. Competition keeps rates low."

While she understood the economy of scale, she said, she was not sure it applied in Plumas County. Thrall's biggest concern was feasibility. "I don't believe in passing ordinances we can't enforce.

Who's going to police every little road out of the county? We can't, we won't and we can't afford to." Bob Perreault, director of public works, said that in addition to economies of scale, "the state imposes rules."

Settlemire, too, noted the increasingly complicated regulatory environment surrounding solid waste issues.

Perreault said his department was trying to keep the solid waste function from being "a burden on the (county's) general fund."

Jerry Sipe, director of environmental health, said the proposed ordinance was "the best compromise we could come up with to protect public health."

Perreault said his department would revisit the issue and staff would have additional discussions with individual supervisors. Staff would also follow up with the county's code enforcement officer.

Settlemire recommended the board continue the public hearing to Nov. 8. This would still give the county the 30 days necessary for the ordinance to go into effect before the end of the year.

One member of the public, Mark Mihevc, offered comment at last week's meeting. He, too, favored competition, rather than a ban on self-hauling.

Mihevc said provisions in the ordinance that gave designated agents of the county the right to enter and inspect private property for accumulations of waste violated the 4th Amendment. He said anyone who wanted to enter his property better have a warrant. Noting that many people might not be familiar with the new rules, Mihevc called the penalties for violations "severe and unwarranted."

Supervisors voted to extend the termination date of the county's solid waste franchise contracts with InterMountain Disposal and Feather River Disposal to Dec. 31, 2016.

The county has been negotiating new contracts with the two companies since the board voted not to renew their contracts in January 2011. The terminations were set to take effect Aug. 24, 2016.

Source: Delaine Fragnoli, Plumas County News

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Publication:Solid Waste Report
Date:Nov 14, 2016
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