Environmental Sustainability Board off to a good start

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By Jennifer Garcia

The Environmental Sustainability Board seems to be off and running. They held their third meeting as a group Sept. 18 in the conference room of the Community Building, where they handled a few orders of business.

The ESB staff is currently working on an implementation plan for the Sustainability Initiative. The Board decided that the work plan should be adjusted to match the implementation plan.

The work plan will be updated by staff and brought to the next meeting in October.

Maria Wolf, liaison from the Planning and Zoning Commission was present at the Sept. 18 meeting of the ESB. She stated that the P&Z commission has had two environmental sustainability-related workshops.

During the first workshop, the P&Z discussed the general concept of sustainable development. Wolf said the P&Z expressed interest in solar power, water conservation and incorporation of sustainability concepts and practices into development code.

Wolf said that the purpose of the second workshop was to review the proposed new water wise landscape code.

During the meeting, the question of whether the landscape water use was under the purview of P&Z was posed. Wolf said that P&Z has jurisdiction over landscaping on sites that require site plan reviews, mainly commercial sites.

A question regarding the next steps related to sustainable development was also raised during the meeting. Wolf said the water wise landscaping code will go through a public involvement and public hearing process before going to Council for approval.

Community Director Rick Bohn will bring other initiatives forward, as opportunities arise.

Also on the business agenda for that meeting, was a citizen inquiry about the solid waste fee being proportional to the waste generated.

There is a current strategy in place to have people that generate more trash, pay more for disposal fees.

The strategy sets up a system where people who need additional trash roll carts could pay an extra $5 per month. In addition, people that bring more than 12 loads to the landfill per year would pay for the additional loads.

One board member suggested that keeping track of residences with more than one trash cart would be cumbersome, however, identified that 70 percent of homes with two carts were not being charged for the additional cart. As a result of the audit, charges were added to those accounts.

   A motion was passed 6-0 that recommends staff include a study option to charge different fees for different sized roll carts in the upcoming rate study.

An update on the Eco Station was given during the meeting, as well. The Eco Station’s construction is approximately 90 percent complete. Currently, staff is making preparations to operate the new facility.

A contract was awarded to Salazar Trucking Co. Inc. of Española for waste transportation and disposal services.

County Council approved the contract at the Sept. 23 work session in White Rock.

The initial cost for transportation and disposal will be approximately $45 per ton and the resulting disposal fee could be as much as $60 per ton.

A rate study will be performed in July 2009, at which time rate change recommendations will be made.

The next ESB meeting will be held at 7 a.m. Oct. 16 in the conference room of the County Annex.