A couple items this week:
- Interviews for Winters Fire Chief were held this week. Final interviews will be held over the next week and a decision will occur in the next 10 days. The three (3) internal candidates who interviewed did an amazing job and frankly any of they would be an amazing Chief for the Department. The best news is we get to have all three in our organization to move Winters Fire forward. It was one of the proudest and most satisfying weeks of my professional career. The City is blessed with some extraordinary people serving our community and this week it shined even brighter.
- Planning Commission this week includes Design and Site Plan Review for 100 homes, a lot split on Second Street and an Expansion of the Berryessa Gap Tasting Room.
- Staff took a financial group which is considering investment opportunities and financing for the Freeway Hotel Project on a tour of the PG&E Gas Operations Academy on Tuesday. It was an amazing tour to see the quality of the facility and the various classes being offered to the Gas Operations Employees. The City is really fortunate to have PG&E in our town and see their commitment to providing some of the best vocational training for utility employees in the world. The facility is first class and the tour by Saul Martinez from the Academy was very well done. Many thanks to Andrea Coker, the Academy Manager for helping set the tour up on short notice.
- The Economic Development Advisory Committee has finalized its draft recommendations and will be setting a date to present it in a workshop with the City Council. A really good group and a very far reaching report. Good Stuff!
- Last week, I had some Questions and Answers regarding the overage and contamination charges being assessed by Waste Management. In some responses on social media and in the press, a key issue maybe could have been emphasized a little better (on my part) regarding some background:
The residential waste management program from the City has six main components involving trash, recycling, containerized green waste and organics, street collection of green waste, household hazardous waste and bulky item pick-up. For commercial and industrial accounts, there is a wider spectrum of services which includes mostly containerized waste, recycling, organics and a variety of other services.
Contamination is a significant issue, because it can literally spoil 3-5 tons of material which increases costs, change an entire days schedule for pick-up and nullify key diversion programs meant to help the environmental side of our waste programs. Not all contamination is done on purpose, but some is pretty obvious. Green/Organics containers with trash hidden in the bottom is a good example. A “contaminated load” cannot be delivered to the green waste facility and is thus diverted to the landfill instead. The cost of higher dumping fees, fuel and employee time, along with lost diversion is expensive and adds up.
The contamination of recycling can nullify the efforts of a hundred houses when people put paint, household hazardous waste or food products into the recycling container. The best purposeful example is someone hiding paint or motor oil in the container. The spillage instantly ruins the load which is then put into the landfill. If the driver misses the contamination and delivers the load to the recycling facility and dumps the load only to find the contamination then, the hauler is then cited by the facility, the truck must be reloaded (at a cost) then diverted to the landfill. Some residents come home wondering why their container was missed and these are some of the reasons why.
Overages are another issue. If someone is generating excessive refuse at their property, there are many alternatives to simply overloading the container. The residential program has 3 different size refuse containers. If someone has a lot of refuse, that also means lots of opportunity for recycling and additional recycling containers can be obtained at no additional cost. The same for green waste with the availability of additional containers. For commercial accounts, Waste Management has an audit service for a customer service representative to come to the business and help find solutions to reducing waste.
The reason for discussing the technology is just to highlight how some issues are discovered. A common response to someone receiving an additional charge is “how do you know it was my home or business that contaminated the load”. This is the 21st century and the use of cameras, GPS and computers are in our pockets daily and aid in the investigation.
The idea that assessing “fault” on this was not meant in the slightest in the Q&A. In most cases it means a need for education or assistance from our waste management personnel so the person can avoid a penalty (which is 9 out of 10 people) in the future. Are there some which are done on purpose? Without casting judgment, some are pretty obvious.
Waste management requires a lot of time for the City because the demands of regulations, new programs mandated by the State and our attempts to meet diversion goals are ever increasing. A little education can go a long way is resolving these issues.
Have a nice weekend