Observations on Solid Waste Management Authority budget
Recently, I decided to visit the Office of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority. Kevin Hendricks was nice enough to allow me a copy of the 2008/2009 budget. To his credit he spent some time to explain the operation. However, this is what the numbers revealed.
In simple terms the cost to dump a ton of disposable garbage is $119.34 to the average consumer. The amount Hambro gets is contracted for 25 years, and is currently, $85.49 a ton. Hambro is responsible for operating the facility and for trucking the disposable garbage. White City gets paid by Hambros a dump fee of $26.06 for each ton. Hambros keeps only $59.43.
Now this is where it gets interesting. The DNSWA gets $33.85 per ton. This is more than White City gets for a dump fee, more than the cost of trucking it all the way to White City.
DNSWA Director Kevin Hendrick’s pay and benefits, according to the budget, total $146,203. Most doctors in town are going to be jealous. His assistant, Tedd Ward gets pay and benefits worth a cool $95,788.
This is why the Board of Supervisors wants to privatize this bureaucracy and give the savings to us.
As the county studies the economics of the Solid Waste Management Authority (SWMA) it should be fully aware of the history of the landfill and how SWMA has made progress in improving and rectifying environmental hazards, thereby preserving valuable natural resources upon which we all depend.
The landfill began long ago as a dump where items were burned or simply discarded. There was no lining beneath this mess. The sandy ground of the landfill area allowed chemicals and hazardous materials to easily leak through into the ground water as our heavy rains cascaded through the debris. With Lake Earl and drinking wells nearby, the issue of contamination was and is crucial. Further problems involved sludge, septic and salty whey waste also being dumped in three open unlined holes. In 1972 the landfill was converted to a sanitary landfill, which meant it was covered thus reducing the rate of leakage by keeping rain out but it was still unlined underneath. During this period the county was responsible.
In 1990 and 1991 the county was found to be in violation of state ordinances for waste discharge and fined three separate times a total of $69,000.
As a result of these fines, the county and city joined forces and developed the Solid Waste Management Authority.
SWMA created the transfer station and closed the open waste ponds at the landfill. By 1996 the SWMA was able to partially close the landfill. In 1999 the landfill for the first time was found by the state to be in compliance with state regulations. Two years ago the landfill was fully closed and waste is now completely dealt with via the Transfer Station.
However, the landfill must be monitored for 30 years.
It has a plastic cover that keeps water out. Because of the obstacles to lining the bottom, the fill does have small leakage issues. SWMA is therefore required each year for the next 28 years to test the water from monitored wells, prepare reports to state agencies, and attend to maintenance problems as they arise. Erosion due to rain is ongoing. If SWMA did not exist, this liability would return to the county which owns the landfill site.
Instead of criticizing this successful agency we need to praise and applaud its ongoing efforts. We do not want to go backward and repeat failures of the past.
Tsunami warning sirens will only be heard by locals and visitors as a fire siren. Response will be little if anything.
A much better warning system would be high-powered, programmable public address loudspeakers with audio siren warning first, then voice announcement of the incoming tsunami and evacuation guidance. This type of system has a range of 2,500 meters (1.5 miles), will operate on battery power if needed and can be remote controlled manually or by VHF/UHF radio.
Sealed, weather-proof speakers and electronics require little maintenance or professional setup and programming. Equipment can be easily found online.
Using sirens is foolish and ineffective. Why risk lives at little cost difference?
It’s sad and even shocking that someone would be so bitter to write in and rain down criticism of the newspaper’s coverage of Roger “Bronc” McCovey and call it “elitist propaganda!” (“‘You can achieve anything if you work hard enough’ a myth,” March 18). Sure there are “quite a number of athletes” at Del Norte High, but how many have ever won the whole state of California in their sport, and twice in a row? None!
And it’s irrelevant whatever “Mr. McCovey” may go on to accomplish in his college career or beyond, because his feat at this present day stands alone in its magnitude and speaks for itself. This is an amazing accomplishment, especially for someone from our small area and it’s worthy of all the accolades he has received and much more!
As for the statements, “be the best you can be” and “you can achieve anything if you work hard enough,” these are not “lies,” as many, many people will be ready to attest to you. Certainly it may be a minority of the general population that has the fortitude to stick with that “hard work” ethic and has the persistence to stay on the step-by-step path needed to achieve truly great things, but that doesn’t mean that those who have accomplished success should be torn down and not celebrated for their outstanding efforts and inspiring results.
You go, Bronc! You give hope and encouragement to so many and show that wondrous things are possible! You are a true hometown hero, and don’t let any naysayers say otherwise!
To the Lighthouse Repertory Theater: What an Amazing show “Cinderella” was!
My family had so much fun watching “Cinderella” this weekend. The cast was so great! Cinderella and Prince Charming had amazing chemistry onstage! The stepsisters were the funniest; we laughed just watching their facial expressions, and their costumes. Wow, they were the perfect opposites.
We also loved the current jokes that you put into the show! My little girl loved dressing up like Cinderella and then to meet Cinderella after the show was like being in Disneyland!
Thank you to everyone involved in this show it was one of the best that I’ve seen! If you haven’t seen the show yet it is a must-see for this weekend.
We would like to thank all the great staff at Renner Petroleum for its very professional serviceman, Ben Yost, who was sent out to our home after a transformer on the Pacific Power pole blew up.
Not only did Ben fix the blown out Moniter heater, he did it quickly and professionally, and then when we saw what it was going to cost us they allowed us 90 days same as cash.
So a big thank you from our family to yours at Renner.
Diane and Andy Cipollo