Dump mismanaged – needs MORE trash!

9 Nov

Well, the headline below says it all – we aren’t trashy enough in Butte County, the dump is staaaaaaarving!  Come on people, shake down – you are not living opulently enough! 

Just kidding. The real problem is mismanagement, or rather, too much management.   The dump currently has at least two management personnel that I know of – Bill Mannel and Steve Rodowick – both of whom yank in almost $100,000/yr, TWO MANAGERS, largely just to drive all over the county and sit in meetings. Hasn’t the county ever heard the one about “too many chefs”? Why do you need two managers, both with separate  benefits, and pension packages, none of which they pay for themselves? 

So, they try to make the increase sound like “pennies”, but Mannel is already crying that this will not be enough. This hike over three years is not going to be enough? No, it’s pissant to these guys with their salaries.  What Mannel really wants is to force the two local haulers to take all trash from Chico to the Neal Road dump. In past, when the county dump has raised their fees, the haulers have hauled ass for Yooooooba City, where other cities’ garbage is considered a “revenue source”.  Yes, Waste Management and Recology, two of the longest-running members of Ann Schwab’s Sustainability Task Force, will truck garbage 50 miles to save “a few pennies.”

The county owns the dump now, “managed” by Mannel and Rodowick. I have listened to these two complain before that the dump does not take in enough trash/money (same thing to them). They want the city to force the two haulers to take all trash from Chico to Neal Road, but the trash companies say they won’t do that unless the city can guarantee them EACH  a certain amount of business every year by instituting  “enterprise zones” – dividing the town up like a pie and handing certain sections to each hauler. Meaning, you don’t choose your hauler, your hauler chooses you.

This is a problem for me because  I WON’T USE WASTE MANAGEMENT.   Linda Herman and Ann Schwab and Larry Wahl know why – they were sitting on the now-defunct “waste management committee” when I brought in a complaint that drivers from WM were driving pell mell across my property, trespassing in my private driveway, tearing holes big enough to form little ponds, to access houses on the other side instead of requiring those customers to put their trash out on the public street like everybody else. At one point a WM truck, trying to turn around on my skinny little private driveway,  took out an electric pole, cutting power to four houses on my street. The manager from WM came out and tried to tell us we had to pay PG&E  for the damages, because it was in our driveway!  The driver of the truck told my husband it was his second day on the job. Wow, good job! Took out a phone pole on your second day at work! We’re so glad to know what kind of people they hire down at Waste Management. My husband told the WM manager to get the hell off our property and we’ve used Recology eversince. The city told Waste Management to stay off our property too, but we’ve had to tell their idiot drivers a number of times since -they’ve admitted to me, they don’t know where their accounts are, so they will enter little cul-de-sacs and alleys  just to check for WM cans. 

Anybody who doesn’t believe me can listen to my story about former employee Ginger, who used to run the WM office. Oh yeah, now you know I know what I’m talking about. Ginger retired a few years  back, but anybody who’s been in the trash trade in this town more than five years know who I’m talking about, and probably has a pretty good story of their own. 

The dump is poorly managed, and money isn’t going to fix the problem. Now they cry they don’t have enough trash, and need a guarantee of more trash to come. But later this year they will switch gears, and say, as they have in the past, the dump is getting USED UP, they need more money to PROLONG THE LIFE OF THE DUMP. They just switch their story whenever they need more money.

The dump needs to be completely overhauled. It is an old-fashioned dump, the kind where you just bury garbage and hope gnomes will carry it deep into the earth before the next generation finds out what you’ve done.  Nowadays, intelligent towns are converting to “composting dumps” – a “no-brainer” as far as I’m concerned – go look at that giant composting machine they use at the “green waste” facility on Cohasset. A-MAY- zing!  Other towns, like Truckee, have also become a lot more careful about what they allow in the dump – they give customers more options for sorting trash.   They actually manage their dumps, not just talk about it.

Neither Rodowick nor Mannel actually “manage” anything, they spend the lion’s share of  their time raising money to pay their own salaries.  Rodowick  gets paid  to sit in Sustainability Task Force meetings, along with employees from both haulers. They’ve asked Schwab  for more trash regulations that benefit their collective bottom line. They’ve  managed to get Schwab to put extra requirements on landlords, lowering the number of units per garbage can and requiring locking recycling bins at rental complexes, so people can’t “steal” from recycling bins. They’ve asked for “enterprise zones” before, but it hasn’t gone anywhere so far. I think Schwab and Herman are aware, I’m not the only person who has pointed out the vast difference in the levels of service you get from Waste Management and Recology. 

Of course, I don’t trust Recology all that completely, but they haven’t burned me yet, I’ve got good service out of them at various rentals for almost ten years, without complaint. It’s only their actitivies in the STF that lead me to mistrust them. They don’t care about the planet, they don’t care about us, they care about money, and that’s the bottom line folks. 

Neal Road dump needs 20,000 more tons of trash a year

Chico Enterprise Record
Posted:   11/09/2012 12:06:17 AM PST

OROVILLE — Tuesday, Butte County supervisors were told additional trash is essential to the economic health of Butte County’s Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility.Bill Mannel, county solid waste manager, made that point when he lobbied the supervisors to impose an increased gate fee at the dump.

Mannel asked the board to up the facility’s gate fee by $1.50 a year over three years.

Mannel said the hike will add about 10 cents a month per added dollar for residential trash removal. So at the end of the three-year hike cycle, according to Mannel’s figures, the residential fees will have climbed by 45 cents.

Having asked for the hike, Mannel said the price hike by itself “will not get us where we want to go.”

In order to keep the facility solvent, Mannel said there needs to be a fund balance of $3 million to $4 million a year to be ready for unanticipated operational costs.

To achieve that goal, in addition to the hike, the county needs to bring in 20,000 more tons of garbage a year.

Mannel said in recent years the tonnage coming to Neal Road has slipped. He said the faltering economy and the associated sharp reduction in construction, combined with increased efforts to recycle an ever-larger portion of the refuse, are the primary causes for the drop.

With the $1.50 addition, the gate fee at Neal Road would be $42.11 a ton.

Oroville Supervisor Bill Connelly said when he came to the board eight years ago, the gate fee was less than half of that, and

he asked Mannel to justify the need for the hike.Mannel agreed the fees were lower then, but said in the interim there have been additional state and federal regulations that have sharply hiked operational costs.

Chico Supervisor Larry Wahl said regardless of the need, it is just the wrong time to raise fees on anything, particularly on a service needed by the hard-pressed construction industry.

The $1.50 hike “will add pennies” to individual bills, observed Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi of Paradise. He said it was better to make hikes in increments than to wait until things reach a crisis stage and have to raise bills by a huge percentage.

The hike was approved on a split vote with Yamaguchi, Chico Supervisor Maureen Kirk and board Chair Steve Lambert in favor, and Connelly and Wahl opposed.

Outside of the meeting, Paul Hahn, Butte’s chief administrative officer, said the county hopes to broker a deal with trash haulers and the city of Chico to see that all of the trash collected in the city is funneled into Neal Road.

If that can be arranged, according to Hahn, the 20,000-ton goal could be achieved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: