Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – November 18, 2016
Once again garbage rates are a topic of conversation in Del Norte County thanks our beloved State, and the fetish that our local Solid Waste staff and current Solid Waste commission have for recycling.. I don’t know how many times it has to be said that RECYCLING IN A SMALL RURAL COUNTY IS A LOSER! In a recent article written by Tony Reed, ” Recology asks for a rate increase to help Julindra” (Triplicate, November 17th, 2016), he shows his basic lack of understanding for how the Del Norte Soid Waste Managements Authority (DNSWMA) works and how Director Tedd Ward has manipulated the situation to avoid bad press by having Recology carry the proverbial can. He certainly does not wish to be seen as raising rates so soon after a recent rate hike, so Recology has to step into the breach that Mr. Ward has created with his mismanagement at Solid Waste.
For well over a year Julindra has begun to make noises about what an economic disaster that recycling in this County has become. Without sizable subsidies, and pay it forward recycling fees, there is absolutely no way for a recycler to make any profit let allow break even. Quite the opposite is true. Without large subsidies, yes, even for aluminum cans, recyclers would be experiencing massive losses. Recycling simply put is a very expensive proposition, and all the propaganda in the world won’t make it any cheaper, or any different. The idea being fostered by DNSWMA and Recology advertising that recycling at the curb is free is simply not true. Recycling costs money, a lot of money, and as I have said before, with the ideological Tedd Ward at the helm of the DNSWMA, continuing a fantasy that Del Norte County rate payers will be able absorb the inevitable rate hikes for current and future recycling programs is a train wreck waiting to happen.
The Solid Waste staff have a multitude of ways to drive the cost of garbage collection to rarefied heights. If the current 4.7% hike “for Julindra’s solvency” fails to move the commissioners then Tedd Ward will be right back to the table with a different scheme in a few months. Wiser heads need to do their homework and regain some bit of control over Ward or do away with the Authority. Should a new rate hike for garbage service go into effect there will come a time when many more local residents will not be able to afford curb side garbage pick up. The natural follow will be Recology asking for yet more money as their customer base dwindles. As curb side recycling also dwindles, it will necessitate yet more cost to tax payers and rate payers alike.
The DNSWMA has for a number of years been a huge negative in this community. The political gamesmanship, recycling programs, false advertising and huge expense for operation can no longer be tolerated. If councilors at the City, or the Board of Supervisors do not understand that this Joint Powers Authority is past its due date and needs to go, then heaven help the ratepayers because the cost will continue to climb driven by Mr. Ward and recycling. This is the way it has been for awhile and will continue. Mr. Ward knows no other way.
I can’t say it was much of a surprise to see yet another rate hike for garbage service being proposed. Politicians and Staff at the Waste Authority have a long history of ignoring the circumstances that many people in this community find themselves. Mr. Ward and several of the Commissions that oversaw the Waste Authorities’ activities have long been oblivious to an almost continuous concern about the worth of the Waste Authoritie’s continued existence and its rising cost. This more or less crystallized following what was largely regarded as a “hatchet job” by a County Grand Jury Report in 2015, discovery of some embezzled Authority money, and the hiring of yet another unnecessary administrator in 2016. Under the leadership of Director Ward, this kind of leadership will continue and much more mischief will have the opportunity to surface. It now only remains to learn how high will the Waste Authority go before Mr. Ward is asked to go?