Thursday, April 20, 2017
“Lets talk trash” became “Let’s not talk trash” at the Isla Vista Community Services District’s meeting on Tuesday. On the agenda was a proposal to allow the district to take jurisdiction of trash collection in Isla Vista (which is currently managed by the county government), and implement a new collection service. The idea was presented by boardmember Jay Freeman, and fervently shot down by all other directors as well as members of the public.
The agenda item was made into a Facebook event prior to the meeting, named “Let’s talk trash w/ the IVCSD.” It was an attempt to attract public members to the discussion. The effort worked, filling rows of seats. But to Freeman’s dismay, these voices did not speak in his favor.
Director Freeman presented an hour-plus PowerPoint on the “status, history, needs, financial background, and potential of solid waste collection in Isla Vista,” the agenda stated. It detailed his interest in establishing a recycling center, and financial statistics to aid his claim that taking over trash services for the district would be a moneymaking tactic for the district. He drafted an application to the Local Agency Formation Commission, better known as LAFCO, that would hand over jurisdiction of trash collection in Isla Vista from the county to the CSD. His pitch: “Revenue for the district is currently zero dollars. This is something we can get started on now.”
Director George Thurlow of UCSB began the line of critiques. “MarBorg and BFI fought for 40 years to have control over trash, how do you expect them to just give it up?” he asked, speaking of the two active waste services for the community. He said he worried this application would prompt the need for legal counsel and representation. “Who is going to negotiate on our side?” He said he foresaw many more complications, involving service, finance, and ordinances.
Director Bob Geis joined Thurlow’s opposition. He said the proposal was “more complicated than [Freeman’s] PowerPoint shows.” He added the Isla Vista CSD formed to focus on eight specific tasks, none of which they have accomplished yet. Among these include securing funding.
Board president Ethan Bertrand said it was “premature to consider moving into a service agreement,” to which Freeman reiterated that the plan would be “cash flow positive.” He added, “If we brought an application to LAFCO, they would laugh at us.”
Several public speakers also cautioned against this action. While a representative from the county’s resource recovery and waste management “applauded Jay’s efforts,” she cautioned against “jumping into something like this” due to many hidden costs. She said she would be happy to review them with Freeman. Many others felt the county and current services were already doing an effective job at handling trash collection in IV, and were more concerned about the county’s lack of funding.
Geis moved to table the item until the district is a legitimate “going concern,” which he described as an economic term to indicate a more solid financial government body through tax revenues. The motion was approved 4-1. Director Natalie Jordan was absent and Freeman opposed. “If we are going to table this service until we’re a ‘going concern,’ we may as well table all services until we’re a ‘going concern,’” Freeman said.