Douglas considers expanding recycling programs

Douglas County residents may soon be asked about their interest in expanding recycling programs, in a town hall meeting and possibly at the polls.

The Douglas County rate making committee, which reviews solid waste disposal rates, wants to hold a public hearing to get comments on which recycling programs residents want and would support.

The group hopes to schedule a meeting in the coming weeks. In addition, members have asked Douglas Disposal, Inc., which provides garbage pickup outside of Lake Tahoe, for details on the costs of expanding a white paper recycling program.

Currently, collection bins for glass, plastic and newspaper are located at Jacks Valley and Scarselli elementary schools, and Douglas Disposal accepts materials at its Pinenut Road site.

The towns of Minden and Gardnerville are also offering a "green waste" pickup, for items like lawn clippings and organic debris.

As the rate making committee made plans for the town hall meeting, member Ron Kruse was promoting a ballot question.

Kruse said he thinks voters should be asked if they want expanded recycling programs, and if they would be willing to pay.

"I think we need to ask the people," said Kruse, who is also on the Indian Hills General Improvement District board of trustees. "Either they support it, or they don't. A lot of people ask me why we aren't doing it in the (Indian Hills) district."

Kay Dupuis, chairwoman of the rate making committee, said she is opposed to a ballot question because she doesn't think there's enough time to inform voters about the issue. The deadline for a primary election question is May 15, with a July deadline for the general election.

"We need to do more recycling," she said. "It will be better when the transfer station is done, and we'll know where we are."

Douglas Disposal and the county are in the process of designing a solid waste transfer station, which will include a recycling collection area.

Kruse doesn't want to wait for another election cycle.

"If we push it two years out, we're going to be that much further behind," he said.

Recycling is the third potential ballot topic mentioned for the 2000 elections.

A proposal to ask voters for a nickel-per-gallon gas tax increase was dropped after no public support emerged for it.

A question on preserving the Carson Valley's open space appears headed for the ballot. The county commission is to consider it Thursday, a debate that could include a decision on when the question would appear and what it would ask.


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