By Debra Moore
There are many phrases to describe how the Plumas County Board of Supervisors appeared before they voted to increase garbage pickup rates for some customers — “hands tied,” “bitter pill,” “no choice.”
Public Works Director John Mannle told the supervisors “I need a resolution; I’m charged with administering this contract.” Plumas County’s contracts with its two solid waste providers, require fee adjustments that are tied to the cost of doing business not to service provided.
That said, while the board ultimately approved the 7.29 percent increase for Plumas picku-up customers served by Waste Management/Feather River Disposal, county leaders also received commitments for better service.
Ryan West, who is a district manager for Waste Management based in Reno, appeared at the board’s Feb. 15 meeting to discuss the issue. The Quincy native said he was “tasked with coming over here to improve services.” That includes looking for a new general manager and hiring more drivers. The company is offering a $5,000 signing bonus to recruit drivers. In the meantime, Waste Management will use temporary drivers from corporate to help in service disruptions.
West said that providing service requires not only drivers, but trucks, and technicians have been brought in from Chico to ensure that the trucks are running well to optimize service.
Additionally, West said that the company has addressed the recycling issue — including pickup for those in downtown Quincy and Chester, and drop-offs at the transfer station.
The company will be working on an outreach campaign to better connect with its customers through varied methods of contact including email and text.
District 4 Supervisor Greg Hagwood, who has fielded numerous complaints regarding garbage service from his constituents as have the other supervisors, said, “I think it’s great; I want to thank them (Waste Management) for their responsiveness. I think it’s great that Ryan is on board; he still has family here. My strong belief is that why people don’t enjoy rate increases, we have a contractual obligation to comply.”
The supervisors were also scheduled to discuss a 2.5 percent increase for individuals who self haul garbage to the transfer stations operated by Intermountain Disposal (the solid waste contractor that services the eastern portion of the county) but that item was pulled from the agenda.