It’s time for spring-cleaning

And don’t forget about your yard

We live in a beautiful area, but sometimes we have to look afar and not next door to see it. That’s because not all of our neighbors take care of their properties.

A reader urged us to take a drive down a particular lane in Quincy and look, really look, at what she saw every day on her drive to and from her home. It was appalling. There were yards that could be confused with the East Quincy transfer site. There were front and side yards filled with garbage bags, debris, car parts, entire vehicles in various states of disrepair, old household appliances, broken items, aged toys and the list goes on. This manmade waste is on top of the yard debris that has accumulated after a particularly destructive winter. And this situation is not unique to this lane or Quincy.

We understand the challenges of maintaining our homes’ exteriors — it can be physically impossible for some, and cost prohibitive to hire help. Then there are those who may be able-bodied, but do not have the means to pay for disposal. It can be costly to dispose of items, especially for those on a limited budget. But what does that mean for people, who, like our reader, work hard to maintain their properties? We, as individuals, communities and a county, must find solutions.

For example, a couple of years ago, the city of Portola’s leaders made a list of the most blighted properties within the city’s boundaries and targeted them. It was a lengthy process, which involved legal notices and continuous effort, but one by one, they addressed those blighted properties. At one residence, where the property owners did not have the ability — physically or financially to resolve the issue — a city councilman organized a work crew, and Intermountain Disposal assisted with the associated disposal and costs.

Plumas County has one code enforcement officer; it would probably take him a year to address just the properties that need remediation on this one lane in Quincy. Multiply that need across the dozens and dozens of streets, lanes and avenues that crisscross this county, and the solution is obviously greater than what one county employee could handle.

First and foremost there needs to be a sense of personal responsibility for our homes and yards. We might not be able to afford to repaint our houses or pay for extensive landscaping, but we can rake pine needles and pick up trash. If we need a little financial help, perhaps the county could step in and work with our local solid waste contractors to offer free dump days at the transfer sites, similar to the household hazardous waste or tire disposal days that are now offered periodically. Maybe there are high school or college sports teams or other volunteer groups that could lend a hand for those who can’t physically tackle the work. There has to be a solution. We live in such a beautiful county, and that should be reflected when we look next door.

Look before you toss it out
Quincy residents — the ballot is on the back

Residents in the Quincy Community Services District received a two-page, double-sided document in last week’s mail regarding a new wastewater treatment plant to serve Quincy and East Quincy. Three pages were devoted to describing the proposed project and its costs. But if residents didn’t flip through the entire document, they would have missed the ballot on the back page. Those who do not think that rates should be raised to pay for the treatment plant must mail in that ballot by the June 8 public hearing. For those who may have inadvertently tossed the material, call the district at 283-0836.