Solid waste money studied

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate April 09, 2014 01:09 pm

Authority Board meeting on Wed. to discuss controls

A criticism of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority that has driven recent reform efforts is that it has had problems managing finances.

Agency staff members will give a presentation on the fiscal controls that have been put in place over the past few months to address these financial concerns during the Authority Board’s monthly meeting at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the county Board of Supervisor Chambers, 981 H St.

Since July 2013, the Solid Waste Authority has implemented new fiscal controls including an improved system for writing off bad debts, a transition to an accrual accounting system, and surprise cash counts, where the authority treasurer or county auditor makes unannounced visits to make sure the cash in the safe matches the books.

The board will also consider a measure to accept applications for a new public member to serve on the authority board, as the current public member, Commissioner Mary Wilson, has served since April 2013 and historically, public members serve for one year.

The Authority Board will also discuss its requirements in implementing a state law passed in 2012 that mandates that certain businesses and local governments must have recycling programs.

Owners of some local businesses have already felt like they are shouldering an unfair burden of trash and recycling expenses in Del Norte County, since the collection rate increases implemented in 2011 were higher for commercial users than residential users.

The Authority Board is planning on holding “strategic planning” meetings that might focus on how the cost of trash and recycling in Del Norte is distributed.

In comments for a recent draft assessment report done by a hired consultant, commissioner and Crescent City Councilman Ron Gastineau said that private customers seem happy with the status quo while business owners are unhappy with the current system.

“It comes down to a community wide discussion of what (the solid waste authority) should be doing — bare bones waste collection or leading the State in recycling efforts?” Gastineau wrote.

That discussion may be getting started.

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