A proposal to charge the same rate for the disposal of noxious weeds as for garbage at the Del Norte County transfer station will be considered at today’s board meeting of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority.
At the 3:30 p.m. meeting in the Flynn Center, the board will also consider adopting the authority’s 2012-2013 budget and approving an amended joint powers agreement.
It’s currently free for transfer station customers to discard tansy ragwort, a noxious weed rampant in Del Norte that can be lethal to livestock, but someone’s paying the cost.
In 2011, Hambro/Waste Solutions Group, which operates the transfer station, provided $2,600 worth of free service to dispose of 29 tons of tansy ragwort.
Hambro currently charges the brush rate ($46.99 per ton) for other invasive species like English ivy, pampas grass, European beachgrass and Scotch broom, but the authority’s proposal would apply garbage rates for those weeds too.
Garbage rates are $138.16 per ton — almost three times the rate for brush.
To avoid jeopardizing their finished soil product, Hambro treats noxious weeds like garbage, hauling them to an Oregon landfill.
Del Norte agricultural commissioner Ken Smith said that tansy ragwort can make farmers’ livestock ill or even kill them, and noxious weeds can crowd out farmers’ crops and native plants.
Fewer people might be inclined to haul their tansy ragwort and noxious weeds to the transfer station with a higher rate, Smith said.
The county’s agricultural department also provides people with flea beetles to combat tansy ragwort, and although there are certain spots where the county can claim eradication, “it’s an ongoing battle,” Smith said.
The authority board will also consider adopting a $2,990,732 budget for fiscal year 2012-2013, a reduction of $156,169 from last year’s budget.
Most of the difference can be attributed to a $128,655 grant the authority won’t get this year that was used last year to pay for implementing product stewardship programs. These programs have made it cheaper for consumers to dispose of certain items, including carpet and hazardous materials like hypodermic needles and paint.
The agency will see $23,000 in savings from the board’s decision to eliminate stipends for commissioners.
The board will also consider amending the joint powers agreement between Crescent City and Del Norte County that establishes the authority.
The primary changes include a requirement that all authority ordinances must be ratified by the City Council and the County Boards of Supervisors before they are official and the board’s public member must be approved annually by the city and county.