Dear Editor,

I attended the first Grand County Council meeting of 2017, and sat through the arduous experience of listening to who was going to get responsibilities for overseeing special service district meetings and other various committees.

One of the newest council members made a comment about divvying up responsibilities in an equal fashion and a seasoned council member said something to the effect that it does not necessarily work that way and added, “Welcome to the jungle.”

When it came to discussion about the Solid Waste District appointment, it caught my interest because the council also voted and approved the hiring of a part-time ordinance compliance worker to get people to clean up their properties.

It is going to be especially expensive for property owners if they have a lot of stuff that needs to be removed based on current and rising costs. A pickup load of material costs around $21 or more at the landfill even if you have a minimal load. This seems a bit steep as taxpayers are already subsidizing things heavily.

To avoid paying fees, electronics, couches, beds and other items appear magically on the outskirts of our valley and it is an ongoing problem.

In listening to the comments made by council members, the employee hired would probably have less than 20 hours a week and the total budget amount is around $20,000, depending on need.

Perhaps the money could be better spent by allocating it for taxpaying citizens who haul their refuse to the appropriate disposal site. Including dump vouchers and giving people a reasonable period of time and flexibility to dispose of items could also be considered as an incentive to help reduce tensions.

In the past, citizens hauled unwanted items themselves. Perhaps allowing local citizens the option of taking trash directly out to the primary landfill north of town again could be a new possibility?

Doing these things might reduce possible conflicts, stop random littering and encourage property clean up. Making it affordable to haul trash away seems like a win-win for everyone. The added expense of tying up a police officer’s time to accompany the county employee for protection purposes, not to mention legal fees and other miscellaneous costs, will most likely transpire.

The current landfill is eventually going to be closed and having new options needs to be considered, especially if it saves the people in our county money.

If our Grand County Council thinks supporting a name change for a canyon was controversial, divisive and just plain ugly … just wait till they try to force private property owners into compliance with a new and improved cleanup ordinance. Welcome to the jungle indeed!