Jun 1 2013

OPINION: Unfair Comparison of Joint Power Authorities

Council member Garrett Keating Disputes Piedmontage Article –

Last month’s Piedmontage (Piedmont Post column by Council member Jeff Weiler) compared the solid waste JPA (Joint Powers Authority)  that Piedmont is a
 member of to the social service JPA, JCAP (Associated Community Action Program)  that became insolvent some months 
ago.  That’s like comparing Councilmember Jeff Wieler to Andrew Weiner, the
congressman who disgraced himself on Facebook.  StopWaste is in no way like
 JCAP, especially so in that Piedmont sends council and staff to monthly 
meetings of StopWaste, an oversight function apparently not carried out with
JCAP.  And StopWaste administrative staff did not act unilaterally in
approving the benchmark fee for conducting annual waste audits. As the Piedmont representative to the Board, I and a solid majority approved this
 fee.  The benchmarking fee is a $2/year fee that will be used to analyze
 waste going to the landfill to determine what recyclable materials are being
 disposed of improperly.  After the first year, residents can opt out of the
 fee.  In Piedmont¹s case, recommendations of the Environmental Task Force
 and the Climate Action Plan call for increasing the city¹s landfill 
diversion rate (currently at 69%) and utilizing public outreach efforts to
 do so.  Hard to do that without information on Piedmont¹s waste stream and
though dirty work, someone has to do it.

A fee increase currently before the StopWaste board has to do with the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program.  Several HHW facilities operate around the county and accept paint, pesticide, batteries and other hazardous chemicals from the public at no charge.   The facilities are supported by a fee on landfill tonnage but as the economy has slowed, revenue to this 
program has declined, and StopWaste has brought several proposals to the
 Board, some calling for a fee increase, others reducing the extent of the
service.  The recommendation of StopWaste staff is to attach $5/year fee to 
the property tax bill of county residents to maintain the current service 
level. Piedmonters interested in this issue should follow City Council over
the next several meetings as this matter is discussed.

Garrett Keating, Piedmont City Council member

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.

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