Carson City supervisors mandate trash pickup, with exemptions
The Board of Supervisors on Thursday decided on the basic requirements for Carson City’s next waste management services contract.
As part of the contract, the city will establish mandatory trash pickup with some exemptions.
Those exemptions will likely include a waiver for anyone who can provide proof of hauling their waste to the city landfill. It may also include other types of exemptions, which staff will research, such as for senior citizens or low-income households.
Carson City doesn’t currently mandate trash pickup and roughly 20 percent of residents don’t use the city’s current provider, Waste Management Inc., for garbage collection.
“Most cities this size require mandatory for health and safety,” said Charissa McAfee, Sloan Vazquez McAfee, the consultant the city hired to develop its request for proposal (RFP) for the new contract.
Another advantage of mandatory pickup, said McAfee, is it reduces service charges by spreading the cost of service among more users.
The supervisors also agreed the RFP should include: weekly trash service; biweekly, single-stream recycling; a road impact fee to be paid by the hauler; a local customer service office; information on the cost of wildlife-proof containers, which could be optional; two available sizes of trash containers; additional yard waste pickup in the spring and fall; bulky item removal; and a quarterly report on what the vendor does with recyclables.
McAfee presented the consultant’s recommendations and the results of its public outreach efforts. Five public workshops were held and attended by more than 50 people, said McAfee, and more than 475 people responded to an online survey.
According to the survey, 59 percent of respondents supported mandatory pickup while 41 percent were opposed to it. Eighty-three percent wanted single-stream recycling, in which all recyclables are put out in one bin, but 32 percent weren’t willing to pay extra for it.
The consultant’s report listed nine vendors who have shown interest in responding to the RFP and among the 30 or so people in the audience at the supervisors’ meeting, a handful were representatives from some of those haulers.
Most of the public comment was in support of both mandatory pickup and single-stream recycling, while a couple of people said they wanted to continue to haul their own trash to the landfill, which the proposed exemption would allow.
“No one likes to be told what to do, but that said, I think it’s time for mandatory service,” said Stacey Giomi, who’s running in the election for Ward 1 supervisor. “I think we can craft some exemptions that don’t drive costs up.”
Giomi’s opponent in the Ward 1 race, John Wood, also spoke, advocating for competitive service provided by multiple vendors.
“I am for free enterprise,” said Wood.
Once an RFP is written and approved, it will likely be published in June with bids due in July. The board could award the franchise in November and the new contract would go into effect July 1, 2019.
The supervisors also heard a presentation from Eglet Prince, a Las Vegas-based law firm, on filing suit to recover damages from the opioid epidemic, such as costs associated with law enforcement and addiction treatment.
Robert Eglet told the supervisors the epidemic stems from aggressive marketing by opioid manufacturers.
“They provided false information, overstating the advantages and minimizing the risks of addiction,” said Eglet.
Eglet said his firm is working with the cities of Reno, Henderson, and North Las Vegas, and Clark County, and talking to other jurisdictions, including Churchill and Lyon counties.
The firm’s proposal for Carson City was a fee of 25 percent of recovery collected in a suit.
Eglet said the case could stay in Nevada courts as long as one of the defendants is a Nevada company.
Still, that doesn’t guarantee that and the suit could end up in federal court as part of a multidistrict litigation involving other cities, counties, and states, where Carson City would lose control of much of the outcome.
At the same time, Nevada’s attorney general is still deciding whether to file suit and Carson City could lose out on any relief from that possible action if it decided to go its own way, said District Attorney Jason Woodbury after the meeting.
The supervisors were scheduled to take action after the presentation, but tabled it until the DA’s office could weigh the risks and benefits of filing suit and report back to the board.