Local News

Tuesday, Nov 05 2013 06:00 AM

LAFCo sets hearing for GH trash issue

As noted in its Oct. 23 agenda, the Kern County Local Agency Formation Commission set a hearing date for Wednesday, Dec. 4, 5 p.m., to reconsider its decision to add sewer, solid waste, cemetery and cultural services to the Golden Hills Community Services District's list of services.

LAFCo's decision is just one piece in the controversy over the GHCSD board of directors' issuance of a five-year notice to Benz Sanitation, intending that the district would take over solid waste disposal in the area.

The purpose of the LAFCo hearing is to determine whether those four services were being provided by the GHCSD before Jan. 1, 2006, as stated in Senate Bill 135, according to the official hearing notice from the commission.

Golden Hills community activist Virginia Staabs said she believes the issue is a legal question.

In a recent phone interview, she said, "Did Golden Hills [CSD] follow the law in going through this process? I don't believe they did."

Staabs and other Golden Hills community members began a movement to recall the current GHCSD board members at the end of September. The petition is currently being reviewed by the Kern County Elections Department, Staabs said. She expects to receive a response by Friday, Nov. 8.

If the department approves the petition, Staabs and other Golden Hills residents will begin gathering signatures in support of the recall. For the initial petition, Staabs needed only 10 signatures, but this next step in the process requires more support from registered voters in the district.

Several individuals made comments at the last LAFCo meeting, according to Staabs, including Tehachapi City Council member Kim Nixon who is a LAFCo board member.

Nixon said in a phone interview on Oct. 31 that she believed her comments at the meeting had been misinterpreted.

"I said that until a meeting had been set and we have gotten all of the information, I think it would be wise that Golden Hills CSD not be spending the taxpayer's money [to further their solid waste plan]," Nixon said. "I was by no means dictating to anybody."

Nixon said predicting an outcome of the issue is impossible until all the documents and arguments have been reviewed, but she agreed with Staabs that the predicament is of a legal nature.

"Both sides have indicated that whatever decision we [the LAFCo board] make, they might pursue [taking it to court]," she said.

Neither Paul Benz Jr., of Benz Sanitation, nor Golden Hills CSD manager Bill Fisher could be reached for comment prior to the publication deadline for this edition.

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