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Lopez solid waste plan submitted
– Submitted by Sarah Eppenbach of the Solid Waste Alternatives Project
On May 25, the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District Advisory Board submitted a draft operations plan to the San Juan County Council for a locally operated solid waste and recycling operation. The plan outlines the services to be offered at the present County Drop Box facility on Fisherman Bay Road when the council proceeds with establishing a Lopez Island Solid Waste Disposal District. The document addresses personnel and equipment needs, markets for recyclables, logistical and site plans, environmental issues and legal requirements.
The plan also includes a draft facilities lease and agreement with the county and a cash flow model. Neil Hanson, operations manager at the county site, helped shape many elements of the plan.
According to the plan, the island’s beloved “Take-It-Or-Leave-It” facility, where usable household items and clothing find new homes for no charge, will remain in place and other recycling services, such as electronic waste could be added as finances permit. SWAP, the nonprofit membership organization spearheading the drive to create a LSWDD, would continue in a support role to raise funds to supplement the district budget, promote district activities, and coordinate volunteers.
On May 15 Lopez Islanders turned in 1,478 signatures in support of establishing the LSWDD. County Auditor Milene Henley certified 962 valid signatures, representing 51.9 percent of currently registered voters on Lopez, easily surpassing the 550 signatures Chair Patty Miller requested as a demonstration of support. Fittingly, supporters celebrated the conclusion of the petition drive with a potluck at the “Lopez Take-It-Or-Leave It/Drop Box” facility with live music, banners, and floral tributes.
If the council approves the LSWDD, Lopez voters will need to endorse a property tax measure on the November ballot to provide partial funding of the solid waste operation, supplementing revenue from disposal fees.
The members of the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District Advisory Board are Sandy Bishop, Bruce Creps, Larry Eppenbach, Dan Post and Page Read.