trash

Down in the Dumps: One man’s trash is another man’s tax burden

2013-06-27T02:30:00Z Down in the Dumps: One man’s trash is another man’s tax burdenBy DYLAN WOOLF HARRIS - dharris@elkodaily.com Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO — In addition to paying for their own garbage services, county residents paid more than $100,000 over the past two years to cover waste removal for those who refused to pay their bills.

The county commission recently moved about $101,000 from a capital project fund to pay for solid waste disposal. The county contracts waste removal services for multiple sanitation districts that don’t have their own dumps. Many residents in the district that encompass Montello and Pilot Valley simply don’t pay their waste bill, leaving everyone else to pick up the tab, according to County Assistant Manager Cash Minor.

Minor wasn’t sure how many residents in the Montello-Pilot Valley sanitation district weren’t paying, but estimated it to be “a lot of people.”

The commission begrudgingly approved the reappropriation Monday.

“We’ve got to do something about this,” Commissioner Charlie Myers said. “I know you can’t shut off the service, I guess, because of the type of service it is, but there are liens and things like that.”

He said it wasn’t fair for county taxpayers to pay for garbage service in an outlying community.

“Some people choose not to participate in it or choose not to pay their bill, and somebody else is paying for them. I feel like we’re in Obamaland right now,” Myers said.

Minor said regulations passed in the late 1990s required small landfills to adhere to certain standards. At that time, the county closed many landfills and created sanitation districts. The county began contracting garbage-hauling services and sent residents the bill.

Commissioner Grant Gerber, who frequently criticizes federal policy, said government regulations are primarily to blame.

“Montello should be able to have their own solid waste pit. They shouldn’t have to haul all of that clear to Elko. It makes no sense. It’s never made any sense,” he said.

Gerber suggested the county send an annual letter to the area’s congressional delegation arguing that point.

“If enough people complain about it enough times, we will eventually get it turned,” he said.

Commissioner Jeff Williams wondered why the county couldn’t refuse to collect garbage until bills were paid. Myers said if no one collects garbage the residents will dump trash illegally — for which there is little recourse unless the individual is caught in the act.

“That becomes an issue for the county,” Myers said.

“Frankly, in 1998 when it was first changed, you saw some of that. People were dumping garbage,” Minor said after the meeting.

Myers suggested the commission explore solutions with county attorney Kristin McQueary.

“We need to have it as an agenda item and give us our options,” Commission Chairman Glen Guttry said. “... People in the city shouldn’t be subsidizing. All of us are subsidizing other folks that don’t play by the rules.”

Copyright 2015 Elko Daily Free Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. Tecoma 3
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    Tecoma 3 - June 27, 2013 10:29 pm
    One more and I will get off my soap box. The people in Montello get a monthly bill from the County. It includes water, sewer, and garbage. They pay the bill or they get disconnected from the water. Perhaps some thinking on their own and the Commissioners would get more things right rather than rely on low grade information from high priced public servants.
  2. Tecoma 3
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    Tecoma 3 - June 27, 2013 10:04 pm
    It appears that many of my neighbors have never been billed either. After 30 minuets on the Internet I know exactly why we aren't getting billed. Grant Gerber is the only one who is in the clear on this one as he was not a Commissioner at the time. Poor Elko County, they just can't get people to pay their bill. What to do. Ya right go 3 years without paying your taxes and see how the County handles that. Don't be hating on us Commissioners. You owe us a public apology. (Not holding our breath)
  3. Tecoma 3
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    Tecoma 3 - June 27, 2013 3:12 pm
    "In addition to paying for their own garbage services, county residents paid more than $100,000 over the past two years to cover waste removal for those who refused to pay their bills." EDFP As you should know, their is always two sides to a story. Hears an idea, Fairly report both sides of the story.

    Brent Palmer,
    Pilot Valley.
  4. Tecoma 3
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    Tecoma 3 - June 27, 2013 2:58 pm
    ” Commission Chairman Glen Guttry said. “... People in the city shouldn’t be subsidizing. All of us are subsidizing other folks that don’t play by the rules.” Mr. Guttry, It's pretty hard to play by the rules when no one bothers to tell you what the game is and how it's ruled. Yes I take offense to your comment about subsidizing other folks. I pay my taxes and my bills. Now perhaps you have been feed some misinformation for you to make a comment like that.
  5. Tecoma 3
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    Tecoma 3 - June 27, 2013 2:40 pm
    I have lived in Pilot Valley for the past 6 years and this is the first time I have heard that I am supposed to be paying for trash removal. I have never once received a bill or any such notice.
    I made the reasonable assumption that the garbage removal comes out of my tax bill. Out here we don't get much in return for our taxes that we pay as it all goes into the general fund that mainly is used in and around Elko. Easy fix County fathers, why don't you try sending out a bill. Makes sense aye?
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