Survey says? Majority prefers monthly trash pickup

By the month, or every other week? Survey says... once a month.

According to results of a survey conducted recently by county Public Works at the Orcas and San Juan Island transfer stations, monthly garbage pick-up was favored by 57 percent of respondents; 43 percent of survey respondents preferred twice-per-month collections.

The survey, intended as part of the "level of service" determination for the Plan B solid waste collection plan, was passed out as customers entered the two transfer stations. Some were not returned as customers left the stations, and about one-third of the 969 surveys that were returned did not indicate a preference.

In the survey, customers were told that the monthly cost for two cans would be about $9, and that twice-per-week collections were estimated at $14 per month.

County Public Works Director Frank Mulcahy said that although the survey queried only transfer station customers, and that some respondents commented in writing that they didn't want any home garbage service, he concluded survey results showed a clear preference for monthly pick-up service. Mulcahy also pointed out that San Juan Sanitation, the county's current franchise hauler who is also expected to be the "Plan B" garbage collection company, indicates the cost to homeowners for collection might be reduced if recycling were part of the plan.

The survey and the entire 200-page draft Solid Waste Management Plan Review will be discussed at County Council meetings scheduled for next week. On Monday, March 19, the plan will be discussed at a council "workshop" scheduled for 9:45 a.m. at the council chambers in Friday Harbor. On Tuesday, March 20, a regular meeting of the council will be held at 10 a.m. at the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts (241 Village Road). Public comment will not be taken at the workshop, but because the meeting on Lopez is a regular meeting of the council, public comment is accepted during time allotted for "citizen participation".

The April 3 county council meeting in Friday Harbor will include a public hearing on the draft solid waste plan, at which public comment will be accepted.

— Steve Wehrly



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