The simmering trash issue in Southern Inyo County appears to be on hold for the year. Residents of Southern Inyo, from Keeler to Tecopa have sprung into action to defend a county service that they depend on.
Inyo Countyofficials have floated the idea of having residents pay for curbside trash pick-up in South County. Right now, however, residents throw their trash into dumpsters that the county provides for free.
This issue came up again at a recent meeting in Stovepipe Wells, as citizens argued with Inyo Supervisors over a solution.
As with most issues, this one comes down to money. Chuck Hamilton with Inyo County explained that the county spends about $200,000 a year for waste hauler contracts for the 2000 or so residents of South County.
Hamilton explained that waste disposal in Northern Inyo County costs about $90 per person. In Southern Inyo, the county spends about $101 dollars a person for trash disposal.
If the communities of Southern Inyo were to switch to curbside garbage service, in theory the county wouldnt have to spend anything to provide service because residents would pay a private contractor for trash pick up.
Its not just the lack curbs in Southern Inyo County that has residents upset with curbside trash pick-up. Keeler resident Dan Dickman explained that the free county dumpsters are the only service that people in Southern Inyo get from the county. Some see the situation as a matter of fairness and point out that much of the tax revenue that Inyo County depends on comes from the hotels of Death Valley and the Coso Power plant.
Other county dumpsters are used by people recreating on public lands. Some have suggested that if the county stops paying for the dumpsters people will go back throwing trash into the desert.
At the end of the public meeting in Stovepipe Wells, the supervisors decided to take no action on the issue, meaning that for now the county will continue to provide dumpster service for Southern Inyo.