A community initiated group to focus on the future of the Lopez Island Transfer Station.
I really like Dan's idea of hauling off recyclables in his truck that goes regularly goes to the mainland empty. He has all the proper documents already in place. Why has the county not already availed itself of his services?
On Tuesday I submitted a Letter to Dick Jenison (Neils first Supervisor in the chain of many) about recycling aluminum cans. No answer so far. On Wednesday I sent an email to the County Administrator asking who or what department was responsible for the cutting of the hours for Neil and Renée. No answer so far. I will put the question about the hours being cut in letter form and send in mail as emails do get lost. I like to brainstorm ideas, so if anyone has something they are thinking about, please let me know, even if you think it is wacky. Dan Post
Today I recieved a letter from the County Administrator. The basic question was who cut the hours of Neil and Renee. Here is the responce:Hello Mr. Post, In response of your e-mail of March 16th - the changes in staffing levels were requested by solid waste staff, approved by me. The Council was kept up to speed about the service level closures along the way.These changes were made to reduce service level (1 less open day a week) to account for overall tonnage reduction from approx. 12,000 tons to 10,000 tons. Solid waste staff best estimate is that by the service level reduction, the operations side will break even for the year. The reductions made are analogous to the permit staff reductions I approved last year. The permit center had lower volume and was bleeding money and I took administrative action to keep the operation on a break-even basis.(Signed by Pete Rose County Administrator)
End of day, 23 March, and no response to my proposal of recycling aluminum cans. Below is part of an e-mail that Bob Myhr sent on 19 March. Will update when (or if) I get word.______________________________________Hi all, Please note that I have forwarded Dan's suggestion directly to our County Administrator Pete Rose and his two key staff on solid waste, Public Works Director Jon Shannon and Solid Waste Manager Steve Alexander, with the purpose of expediting a review of his proposal.
My proposal for recycling alumninum cans was submited to Dick Jenison on 16 Mar. On 19 Mar Bob Myhr also forwarded it to Pub Works and Solid Waste and also to the County Administrator to expedit a review of my proposal. As of late on 25 March still no response.
End of day 26 March and no response from the County. Lets see, given over a week to Dick Jenison (Neils first supervisor), Bob Myhr (County Council) who passed it on to Solid Waste, Public Works and County Administrator. No response so far. Anyone have any ideas?
Perhaps we will receive a response after the council gets the petition.
The solid waste disaster is a perfect opportunity ti set-up a permanent, resident-operated, defense against continuing affronts from County government. There is a long, long list of serious abuses of power by the County that have cost residents enormous amounts of time and money,.made their lives more difficult and less secure. Just look at how much effort has gone into TBTD, and we’ve just started!As the economic collapse continues we can only expect more thugishness as County revenues decline. Remember, they took away our secret ballot! If they’re capable of that, they will stoop to anything!IT WILL TAKE US LESS TIME AND LESS MONEY AND BE FAR MORE SATISFYING TO SET-UP A PERMANENT, CONTINUOUSLY- OPERATING INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM INFRASTRUCTURE THAN WILL DEALING WITH CONSTANT ABUSES OF POWER INDIVIDUALLY.Collecting signatures can be a bit daunting at first, I admit, but it gets much easier each time. After two or three rounds you learn who to go to and where to set-up and it all becomes second nature – as democracy should!
Update on my proposal to recycle aluminum cans. I stoped and talked to Dick Jenison who was the person I gave the request to almost three weeks ago. He said that he had passed it on to Steve Alexander the next up in the cain of command. I have had no response from anyone. Also, remember when Neil put in a proposal to rent a backhoe by the hour ($60 per hour) from the county and not rent per month ($4,000 per month) that would save Solid Waste $42,000 per year. Well it has not been put in place. So does Solid Wast want to save money? I think not.Dan Post
No official response on the letter that I submitted about recycling of aluminum cans (over three weeks). I would think that some kind of official response would at least be a courtesy from our local governing body. How this makes me feel (something low on the food chain) is not important. What is important to me is the lack of responsiveness by our local government to something so simple as recycling. Remember my proposal: I set up a tote next to the commingling tote at the dump. You can voluntarily place your aluminum cans in the tote if you want. The only county time would be for Neil to put the tote in my truck, maybe 30 seconds. I sell the cans at Skagit River Steel and give the county 50% of the money. So in my proposal the county would make money. Now with commingling they have to pay to get rid of the recycles. Now is that simple or what. Lets see, make money, lose money, make money, lose money. I say how about "make money", but our county says "lose money", and then they raise fees and taxes. If anyone on Lopez thinks my proposal is a bad idea please call me up and let me know: 468-4818.
What Dan didn't say: I talked to him this afternoon before his post and said the county will not be taking up his offer, but that perhaps we can get a non-profit like Lions or the Thrift Shop to collect the cans and help the non-profit. Bob Myhr
Yes, Bob did call me today and said that I probably would not get a written response to my letter and that the county will not be taking me up on my offer. And that maybe the Lions or Thrift Shop could set up a tote that is not on county property to collect aluminum cans. So now I have my written response (see post above) that the county will not take up my offer. So I still ask the question, does anyone on Lopez think my proposal is a bad idea? If you do think it is a bad idea please call me up and say, and then I will post here how many people have responded.Dan Post
I find the council's refusal of dan's idea a blatant disregard for public input. If the council has concerns with dan's proposal, why did the council not communicate those concerns directly to dan? why did the council not try to work with dan on this? Yes, Bob is contacting the Lion's Club (or another non-profit) with a similar idea. But, really, the council should be speaking to dan about how to make his plan work. Especially if there is community support for it. Maybe it's time for this to go into a mini-initiative?
Update: My original proposal was finally answered yesterday. If you have not read it and would like to please let me know and I will send you a copy. Last Monday I submitted a proposal to our County Council Member Bob Myhr similar to my other proposal but with the change that I would take no compensation. As I see it this is very simple. Does the county want to pay to commingle these aluminum cans or do they want to recycle them and receive compensation? Is not recycling good for many reasons? So far on Lopez I have not heard from anyone that does not want to recycle. If 100% of the people want to recycle, should we not? If 100% of the people want to recycle should our County Counsel listen?
It has been almost two weeks and no response to my proposal to haul some recycles for free. I see how this is working. Last proposal took a month to get turned down. This one is taking time. If each proposal takes a month to get turned down it is the stragity to take time until the guy submitting gets old and dies. Hmmm, I will have to think of something different. I would appreciate any ideas out there.Dan Post
The situation with the dump may be an opportunity to start something new for the Island, in the long term. My general suggestion is to somehow add value to our waste and maximize income for the Island. For example, process the glass, plastic, rubber, etc to such a form that it would be worth more to make things out of. Or, to make things out of them locally. For example, making railroad ties out of old tires. Maybe we can learn how to safely biodegrade, producing fuel. It is only a matter of time before we have to deal with our garbage on-island. A close observation of what goes in and out of the Island may reveal useful patterns. There are a few communities on the planet that produce zero waste. Maybe we can work towards that as a community and work towards increased autonomy.
$5 Fee for Recycling Is Bad Policy and Will Not Address Revenue Shortfall ----- Bob MyhrThis week I vigorously and vociferously opposed the action of the County Council to charge $5 for "recycling only" trips to our transfer stations. I consider the Council action to be totally inconsistent with everything we have heard from our citizens, a complete reversal of our county policy to encourage recycling, and, especially, will not address the serious revenue shortfall in our solid waste systemOn August 31, 2010, the Council voted 5-1, with myself in opposition, to impose a $5 "gate fee" applicable to all "recyclable only" trips to our transfer stations. (The fee would not apply if the trip also included disposal of garbage.) The purpose of the fee is to raise $240,000 to pay for "stopgap" funding of operations to the end of 2011 and to raise an additional $160,000 for capital funding. (80,000 "recyclable only" trips X $3 = $240,000, and 80,000 X $2 = $160,000). Instead, this fee will significantly reduce recycle trips to the dump, and, therefore, not raise the projected revenue and simply change disposal behavior. People will only go to the dump when they bring along garbage and avoid the fee. Those that do decide to go will meet longer traffic lines while people wait to pay. It further penalizes the small, self-haulers going to the dump who already pay 50% more per ton than curbside haulers. I am urging the Council to reconsider the ill-advised $5 fee. To pay for recycling, I advocate further cost cutting and a small garbage rate increase ($1 per can and $37 per ton) which would affect everyone. It would keep recycling free, bring more revenues from the curbside haulers (that still pay 50% less the self-haulers), and would be much more likely to raise what is needed for the stopgap measure of raising $240,000 for operations. Recycling does cost money, but the $5 gate fee for recyclables is not the way to capture that cost or raise revenue. It will not work! ----- Bob Myhr
The paying market for recyclables right now is essentially zero. Some materials, such as glass, will never have real value due to the cost of re-manufacturing it into new products and the high cost of transportation. Some materials, such as aluminum and copper, have maintained a fairly high value over time, although metals prices have fallen dramatically due to the worldwide recession. Thus, a few high-value recyclables effectively subsidize low-value recyclables. We cannot separate the high-value recyclables from the low-value ones, as that eliminates any possibility of generating income from recyclables.Recycling will need to be subsidized by trash collection fees, parcel fees, a solid waste tax, or some other funding source for the foreseeable future.The citizens of the County have been dealing with the trash/recycling problem for over a decade. In 2001, the county rejected the idea of contracting commingled recyclables. In the intervening years over tens of thousands of dollars per year have been spent to move recyclables to Lopez for baling, and then moving them again to the mainland. Now that system is totally broken and we are commingling recyclables!Let's stop wasting time and money. There has to be away to evaluate the REAL cost of trash disposal and recycling without prejudice or emotional baggage. As much as one might want to believe that recycling is the "right thing," there has to be financial logic involved somewhere. Solid Waste is hemorrhaging money. Self-haul cannot pay for itself as currently structured. Recycling can probably never pay for itself in San Juan County, due to our high transportation costs. We cannot realistically create a local market for recyclables without creating an industrial manufacturing infrastructure.I encourage citizens of Lopez to open your minds regarding the crisis in Solid Waste and work together for a long-term, fiscally sound solution.
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