Supervisors talked trash and rate hikes at the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. The former constitutes business as usual, while the latter is a little less likely.
Those living in western Alpine County will continue to send their rubbish down the mountain to the Calaveras County landfill after supervisors voted to continue a tradition that began in 1974.
“We’ve been in agreement with Alpine since the ‘70s,” said Yvonne Van Zee, program coordinator for Calaveras County Public Works. “They have no alternative, so we’ve always had a joint powers agreement with them.”
The agreement between the two counties allows for the trash generated by residents and businesses of Bear Valley, Mt. Reba and Lake Alpine to be disposed of at Rock Creek Solid Waste Facility in Milton.
On average, the refuse from western Alpine County accounts for 2 percent of waste discarded at the facility, and the agreement provides about $60,000 in revenue for the Integrated Waste Management division of the Public Works Department.
The agreement also allows Alpine residents to participate in special collection events sponsored by Calaveras County, including the household hazardous waste disposal days.
One change in this agreement, however, is the duration of the contract.
“This is a one-year agreement, and we’re going to be looking at increasing their charges similar to our charges,” said Lori Norton, Calaveras County chief administrative officer.
“If we raise the rates for Calaveras residents, it’ll raise the rates for Alpine County,” added District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway.
Normally the contract is five years, but waste management is looking at a potential rate increase for Calaveras residents, and those increases would be applied to Alpine residents as well.
“We just didn’t want to get ourselves locked into a five-year agreement if something changes in the next year or two,” Van Zee said during the meeting.
“If that happens, I didn’t want to have to go back and renegotiate (with Alpine),” she added, which is the reason for the one-year contract.
“So you have something planned that’s going to go to the voters?” asked Callaway.
That may depend on a nexus study being done by Public Works, which analyzes the financial condition of waste management and could result in increased rates for customers in Calaveras County.
If an increase is on the horizon for waste management, the division will have to convince the electorate before it can be implemented.
“It requires a two-thirds vote,” Callaway said at the meeting. “So it’s not going to be easy.”
The board voted unanimously to approve the one-year agreement.
In other news at the board meeting:
A resident raised concern over the surplus vehicles being disposed of by the county. Six vehicles in total are listed to be junked, and of those two are Ford Tauruses. One has a bad transmission, and the other has a blown engine. Both have fewer than 100,000 miles on them.
“Of these two vehicles, can’t you make one?” asked Peter Racz of Jenny Lind. “You have a high school down the street that has a fantastic car shop. … If those kids can make one good car out of these two, the county comes out better.”
The board did not take such action at the time, but supervisors were open to the suggestion for future vehicles.
“Once we get a fleet program in place, maybe we can put that in as a provision,” said Supervisor Cliff Edson. “I think that would be a very good suggestion.”
The board voted unanimously to approve the vehicle disposals.
Four vacant positions from Public Works were removed from county’s position control list in preparation for final budget deliberations. A month ago, supervisors cut $350,000 from the Public Works budget and gave that money to the Sheriff’s Office.
Callaway was hesitant to remove them at this juncture, since “things could change at the final (budget). … Once we delete these positions, they’re gone. (Bringing them back) becomes a more bureaucratic process.”
“I know we voted in the recommended budget to eliminate these vacant positions,” said District 4 Supervisor Debbie Ponte. “So I agree with that. … Ultimately, I’m supportive (of the removal).”
“Francine (Osborn) is our Human Resources director, and I agree with her line of reasoning,” echoed District 5 Supervisor Darren Spellman. “There’s no reason to leave these hanging out there.”
Despite Callaway’s reservations, the board voted unanimously to approve the removal of those unfilled positions from the county’s position control list.
Bryce Randall was appointed to the West Point Cemetery District.
“I’m really happy to see Mr. Randall step up to help out there,” said District 2 Supervisor Chris Wright. “It’s an important task to keep these things going.”
The Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, at the Government Center. Its the first night meeting supervisors have scheduled in years and is an opportunity for members of the community who could not normally attend a board meeting to participate in government.