It started with a question at the May 29 Nevada City Council meeting.
Luke Spence, council member, asked, why isn’t the city of Nevada sponsoring a community-wide trash pick-up day for its residents?
No one was quite sure how long it’d been, but Nevada used to do this. The local Kiwanis Club took part years ago, city workers took part. There had been curb-side pick-up and there was a drop-off trash sorting site at Harrington Park’s parking lot.
It was a pretty big deal.
As people carried their items out to the curb — anything from old appliances to old furniture — there was a pre-clean-up day scavenging fest by others, who would drive slowly around town looking for something they might like to have from someone else’s throw-away pile.
There were rules about what could and couldn’t be discarded on clean-up day. Some played by the rules; some did not.
Parks and Recreation Director Tim Hansen, who has worked more than 20 years for the city, recalled some of the problems. “One of the biggest issues was separating things out … people didn’t sort, so crews had to do that for them.” All this backed up the process of trying to pick things up at the curbs all across town, to the point where city crews, without some of the volunteers present on the day itself, were still trying to get to everything for several weeks after the clean-up day.
City Administrator Matt Mardesen said he has known that some communities who do this have just one garbage hauler, and it becomes part of the city’s contract with that hauler to have a clean-up day once or twice a year. But, Nevada doesn’t have just one hauler, which could turn into an issue of how that works with multiple haulers or which one hauler gets selected for the extra work and extra money.
And the money isn’t a little thing either. Mardesen estimates $5,000 for a clean-up day would be the low end of the price tag in a community of Nevada’s size.
Spence responded with a comparison. “Five grand isn’t cheap, but we spent $10,000 on a shade for the band last meeting, too.”
Councilman Jim Walker could see both sides, that the event can be good for the community or a hassle. But, he said, if you’re getting rid of stuff that clutters up people’s properties, aren’t the dollars well-spent?
Mayor Brett Barker asked whether or not having this day happen again in Nevada would help with the nuisance abatement issues the community has.
Spence agreed. “If we’re going to push the nuisance thing, we should look at this. We (himself and his family) have never lived in a town that hasn’t had it.”
Another issue brought up by city staff from when Nevada did have this day was that not everything coming in for disposal was from Nevada.
Others agreed, if the city were to do it again, it would want to figure out if there’s a way to cut down on those who might bring their stuff in from outside city limits. Walker suggested if there’s a drop-off site, people should have to show a license that lists a Nevada address.
Nothing was agreed to, one way or the other, at the meeting. But the discussion was interesting.
As they were ending it, Councilwoman Barb Mittman asked one more question about whether the city also had, at one point in time, a place where people could go with yard waste?
Councilman Brian Hanson had an answer. Yes. “That also got abused.”