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Citizen continues his case against county garbage law

Darrel Russon appeared again before the county commission Wednesday, continuing his campaign to change the county's garbage collection policy.

Russon, who lives off Coal Creek Road outside of Wellington, believes that the uniform rates charged each month penalize people like him, who don't produce much garbage. At the same time, those rates subsidize people who churn out lots of trash. He needs garbage collection only once every four or five months but has to pay the same monthly rate as everyone else.

In his latest presentation to commissioners, Russon suggested that garbage rates should be based on the number of collections instead of a flat rate. That way, people who produce less solid waste would pay less than those who rely on frequent collections.

It should be possible to mount some sort of scanner or reader on the garbage trucks to keep track of whose garbage bin is being emptied and how often, he said. Utility meter readers and supermarket bar code readers do it, so why not trucks?

The county's ordinance does not encourage conservation does not reduce the demand on the county's landfill or on ECDC for that reason, he concluded.

Commissioner John Jones noted that the county's long-term contract with City Sanitation is based on the number of cans to collect, not on how many stops the trucks actually have to make. He wondered if reducing the fees on people like Russon would cause an increase on fees for others.

That's the point, Russon replied. That would end the subsidy.

Commissioner Mike Milovich said an increase in garbage collection rates would cause an undesirable incentive for people to begin tossing waste into the rural washes again, as some were doing before the county adopted its policy 15 years ago. While he recognized that Russon's suggestion to meter garbage collection might make sense in a densely populated urban area, a lot of the county is rural. Trucks have to drive the sparsely populated roads to collect trash, so the mileage and expense are roughly the same whether a trash bin is dumped or not.

Commissioner Bill Krompel said he would be glad to talk with City Sanitation about Russon's idea to see if it would be desirable or possible. However, he repeated a statement he made two weeks ago that the garbage fees also pay for the seven-day, no-fee operations of the county landfill. People can drive in and unload construction material, tree trimmings, old household appliances without paying at the gate.

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