At the North Shore: Bear proof proposal on the table |

At the North Shore: Bear proof proposal on the table

Kevin MacMillan, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

Adopting a two-strike rule to thwart residential trash violations and enforcing rules as to when trash can be placed outside are just two recommendations district staff think will help eliminate future black bear problems in Incline Village and Crystal Bay.

Incline Village General Improvement District staff members Joe Pomroy and Madonna Dunbar will present those proposals, along with many others, at tonight’s IVGID Board of Trustees meeting, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. at 893 Southwood Blvd.

Under the proposed two-strike rule, IVGID residents who are found guilty of a wildlife-related trash violation, first offense, will be charged $300. That money will be paid to IVGID, and staff in turn would deliver a 96-gallon wildlife resistant cart at the residence. Pomroy said the carts generally cost about $250, and the $300 fine would go toward its cost and the cost of IVGID labor.

Second and subsequent offense result in a $1,000 fine and a mandatory bear box installation.

According to the current ordinance, the first offense for negligent trash awareness is $100; the second is $500 and subsequent offenses are $1,000. However, the fine can be rescinded if the property owner installs a bear-proof container. Additionally, the district has incentives in place that will pay for half of the installation of a bear-proof container.

The newest proposal is aimed to avoid having more than one violation, Pomroy said.

“With our proposal, if you get a trash violation, we’ll come out and deliver the cart,” Pomroy said. “It’s designed so that first offense can take care of the issue.”

Another proposed change to the current ordinance is to make it so trash is placed at the curb no earlier than 5 a.m. on collection days. The problem with the current ordinance, Pomroy said, is it says “before 7 a.m.,” which means residents could put their garbage out the night before pickup.

One of the biggest problems with bears is people who leave their trash out over night. While it may be a convenience to people, it serves as a late-night snack for the bears.

“What we want to do is find that person and address the people who may have a habit of putting their trash out the night before, and we want to educate them” Dunbar said. “We plan to coordinate education patrols on trash nights, so if we do find offenders, it can work as kind of a warning. We want to educate them.”

The proposals are the culmination of Pomroy’s and Dunbar’s work the past few months with other IVGID staff to come up with solutions to the black bear problem recently plaguing Northern Nevada.

According to IVGID statistics, the district received 145 trash complaints in 2007, 75 of which were deemed “wildlife complaints.” The calls resulted in $11,522 in fines levied against IVGID residents last year. In 2005, IVGID received seven trash complaints, resulting in $260 in fines.

Pomroy and Dunbar said they hope to garner feedback and suggestions to the board, then fine-tune the proposed trash ordinance change before presenting it again before the board for final approval in time for the 2008-2009 fiscal year budget, which has to be approved by the third week in May.

The duo also will look for feedback on a proposed recycling program for the district, which entails a permanent program based on the blue bag pilot program the district rolled out last summer.

This proposal still follows the current bi-monthly pickup schedule; however, it gives residents and commercial properties more leeway when it comes to recycling by not forcing residents to sort recyclables, allowing for more items to be recycled and providing commercial residences with 96-gallon wildlife resistant totes, specifically for recycling.

If adopted as is, the proposal calls for a $2.83 per-month increase per resident for the program incentives. According to a memorandum, which details the proposal, created by Pomroy to the board, residents pay $1.33 a month in recycling fees. The increase would make Incliners pay $4.16 per month, or an annual cost of $49.02.

“I think it’s a more-than-reasonable rate to pay, considering what it started as,” said IVGID General Manager Bill Horn. “The price was a lot higher a few years ago. I think it will be accepted because this community is committed to protecting the environment and protecting the beauty of the lake.”

As for commercial properties, the 96-gallon tote will be provided for a charge of $18.36 per month, a charge that, if handled correctly, will turn into profit at year’s end, Dunbar said.

According to the memo, by using the tote for recycling, it allows a lot of recyclables to be diverted from solid waste, which could substantially minimize the amount of solid waste. With less solid waste to pick up, the commercial business saves money, Dunbar said.

“The majority of commercial properties can keep their overall costs lower or the same as regular solid waste stream costs,” she said. “Now, the one drawback is it doesn’t really address some commercial properties who go through a lot of cardboard. It unfortunately is one drawback we weren’t able to negotiate.”

Dunbar said she anticipates both changes ” an updated trash ordinance and the permanent recycling program ” to kick off by June 30, in time for the July 1 fiscal year turnover.

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