Second hearing on Gardnerville trash rate increase scheduled for November

Gardnerville town board members are moving forward with a 7 percent hike on residential trash customers.

On Tuesday, board members voted 4-0, with member Paul Lindsay absent, to continue the item until Nov. 2 for final action.

Tuesday was the first of two public hearings required for any increase. The new rates would take effect Jan. 1, approximately a year after the last step of a staggered 3.5 percent increase the town board approved in 2009.

The residential quarterly fee would jump from $51.50 to $55.10, and the minimum user quarterly charge would increase from $14 to $15. For office residential customers, the hike would mean paying $55.64 a quarter for each 90-gallon tote rather than the current $52 charge.

"We always take it up 1 percent, 1.5 percent. We've been visiting this every year," said Board Chairman Tom Cook. "It's time to bite the bullet."

As required by law, the board accepted a business impact statement that had been circulated to the Main Street Gardnerville and Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce organizations.

Because commercial rates have been excluded from the hike, there will be no direct and significant burden imposed on businesses, the statement read.

"The additional revenue will increase the Health and Sanitation Department capital reserve requirements by $26,657," Dallaire reported. "This increase will support the $19,997 depreciation short fall, currently budgeted for the fund."

Dallaire said the town already has cut costs by deferring the purchase of a new trash truck, by dumping at the Carson City landfill instead of the Douglas County transfer station, which is about half the cost, and by consolidating routes and suspending green waste pick-up from Jan. 1-April 1.

"We'll cover depreciation and add a little to the hole we've had the last couple of years," Dallaire said.

Chichester resident Glenn Linderman questioned why the board wasn't looking at charging residential customers for an extra can.

"It seems more equitable to make those people who produce more trash to pay more," he said.

"We kept our commitment on that second can," said board member Jerry Smith. "We went over it and over it and gave residents the option to have that second can."

The problem with charging for a second can, Cook said, is that residents will "cram more in one can and jump around on it."

"We'll find more trash in the streets," added board member Robin Bernhard.

Initially, the town considered three options, including a 3 percent overall increase and a 5 percent residential increase. Town officials, however, reported a sharp decline in commercial pickups.

"Commercial customers are still paying a huge part," Dallaire said. "Residents haven't paid their fair share for trash."

"We picked this one option (7 percent), so we don't have to do this again anytime soon," said board member Mike Philips.


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