Landfill rate proposal to receive further scrutiny

Carson City supervisors decided Thursday they want to look more thoroughly at how changing landfill fees would affect residents.

The concept could be viewed as "robbing Peter to pay Paul," said Supervisor Richard Staub.

Here's why: Waste Management Inc., also known locally as Capital Sanitation, informed the supervisors they would to seek a raise in the amount charged for curbside trash pickup throughout the city if the increases are approved. The company is contractually required to take what it collects to the landfill and believes it will cost $600,000 more each year to deliver the trash to the dump.

Charges for municipal waste loads in excess of 1,000 pounds and the cost for construction and demolition loads would rise substantially with this plan. Individual loads brought by non-city residents would be double what in-county landfill users with loads of less than 1,000 pounds will pay - and these local rates will drop an average of 11 percent.

"Anything that happens at the landfill has a direct impact on WMI, and any impact on WMI has an impact on its customers," said Frank Cassas, attorney for the trash hauler.

Though the company has about a month to bring the supervisors a rate-hike plan, when they consider the issue during their July 1 meeting, the initial estimate is that WMI would have to charge each customer an additional dollar each month.

"They have to show us why they need the money, just like a utility," said City Manager Linda Ritter after the meeting.

Another area of the plan that may be considered later is a doubling of the charge when people bring loads that are improperly uncovered. This method of keeping areas outside the landfill free of loose debris, however, will be left off the initial plan. It's a concept to be brought back later for further consideration, Ritter said.

If it had been included, "I'd be given not to support it," said Supervisor Pete Livermore, who wanted to have deputies enforce the rule off premises instead.

Additional money raised if the plan is enacted will be used initially to upgrade equipment at the landfill. The city needs to replace an array of items but requires more money before this can happen. Any additional money not used to run the landfill would be slated for other city needs, Ritter said.

In other business:

• This year's city budget was amended for the last time when supervisors approved addition of such expenses as V&T Railway bonds, the Campagni land agreement, New Year's flood, Waterfall fire and a host of other items totaling more than $27.5 million, including Redevelopment Authority additions of less than $4 million. The final budget for the fiscal year ending June 30 will be roughly $115 million, with a general fund total of $73.85 million.

• The city and firefighters agreed on a four-year contract that provides them with a 3 percent cost-of-living allowance plus a 1 percent adjustment to base salaries during the first year, beginning July 1. The remaining three years provide 3 percent cost-of-living raise plus a 3-percent adjustment to the base pay rates each year, until the contract expires June 30, 2010. Other new arrangements include removing the grievance board and using mediation to solve disputes and trying work schedules that provide firefighters with 48 hours on and 96 hours off. The Carson City Fire Department has a $6.4 million budget this year.

• The city, Douglas County and the Washoe Tribe now have a mutual-aid agreement that allows the municipal officers to enter tribal lands to make methamphetamine-related arrests.

• A temporary loan to the city's ambulance service of $150,000 will allow the service to remain in the black while collection of payments is further pursued.

• An agreement with the Brewery Arts Center for community-access television service for one year also is official. The contract is for $110,000 but would be amended once the city reaches accord with Charter Communications for cable service. More money would be sought for the fledgling BAC service as part of this agreement, Ritter said.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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