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County approves plan to standardize trash fee adjustments

Dan McDonald
Staff Writer

The Board of Supervisors took a step toward standardizing future garbage rate increases in Plumas County.

By a unanimous vote, the board approved a plan to develop a consumer price index (CPI) that will be used to decide rate adjustments.

“I’ve said over the years that a small annual increase is a lot easier for the consumer to adjust to then a big shot every … whenever,” board chairman Robert Meacher said during the supervisors’ March 20 meeting.

The new system would replace the county’s current contract with its two solid waste franchise contractors — InterMountain Disposal and Feather River Disposal.

The current contract guarantees that the franchises realize a 10 percent profit. Rate increases have been dictated in relation to the companies achieving the 10 percent target.

According to an independent audit, Feather River Disposal beat the target, reporting an 11 percent profit in 2011. However, InterMountain earned just a 2.39 percent profit.

The new contract would place more of the profit-earning burden on the franchises.

InterMountain Disposal owner Ricky Ross said his company is already taking steps to reduce its expenses.

“We’ve made some internal cutbacks. And I took a pay cut,” Ross said. “With our employees, we’ve reduced our insurance (contribution) to 50-50.”

Ross said he attributed his company’s weak 2011 profit to “several factors” that were out of his control.

“For instance, the state park (Plumas-Eureka) was not open. Lake Davis was not open,” Ross said. “But we are optimistic things will pick up. You’ve got to be positive.”

The supervisors authorized the county’s public works department to spend up to $17,500 to develop new contracts and a CPI-style refuse rate index.

Future solid waste rate adjustments would be implemented annually, based on the index.

The new contract, which would require approval from the waste disposal companies, is expected to go before the supervisors in June.


Discount carpet recycling

County residents will be able to get rid of their old carpet for 25 percent less than the current fee.

Public works engineer John Kolb said residents can start dropping off carpet for the reduced rate at the Delleker transfer station “very soon.”

He said there would be a 28-foot trailer at the site, sponsored by Carpet Care and CalRecycle.

The service is part of a one-year, nine-county pilot program in Northern California.

Kolb said the fee would be based on the carpet weight. The program does not include carpet pads.

“We expect the trailer to arrive any time,” Kolb said.


Free paint disposal

Beginning in the fall, residents will be able to dispose of old paint at yet-to-be-determined sites in the county.

“We don’t know how many of our facilities in the county are going to offer these recycling services,” Kolb said. “I would think that each of our franchise contractors would have a central location for paint recycling.”

Kolb said there would be no charge to drop off the paint. He added that California and Oregon are the only states to offer the free disposal.

The program, sponsored by the nonprofit Paint Care, will accept cans up to five gallons in size.

InterMountain Disposal said that about 67 percent of the hazardous waste it took in during its last special event was paint.

“Most of it is latex, oil paint and stain,” IMD owner Ricky Ross said. “So I’m very thrilled about this. It is great news for us.”

Ross said the free program wouldn’t be an event. “We would be able to collect this  (paint) every day that the transfer site is open.”


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