Local News

Tuesday, Jul 23 2013 12:00 AM

Golden Hills moves forward with trash plan

The future of Golden Hills' solid waste handling is a little closer.

According to District Manager Bill Fisher, HF&H Consultants, who the district hired to guide it in preparing a franchise agreement for its solid waste service, is nearing the completion of drafting up the district's request for proposal, which is expected to be released within the next three to four weeks.

At its board meeting on June 18, board member Ed Kennedy said the ad hoc sanitation committee recently met with the Walnut Creek-based consulting group to go over the RFP line by line.

The RFP is the result of last month's board decision to provide Tehachapi-based Benz Sanitation a five-year notice as required by law, to end its agreement for trash pickup it currently receives through a non-competitive bidding process employed by the County of Kern.

At that time, Fisher noted that the move was prompted solely by the high service rates the district currently receives, and said the decision was made to allow the district to search out a more competitive rate for its residents.

However, the decision left some wondering why the district would want to get into such a messy business, and raised questions about the cost it was spending for consulting services.

Fisher said although the board approved to spend up to $90,000 for its trash consulting services, the actual amount incurred will be reimbursed to Golden Hills CSD by the successful bidder, resulting in no out-of-pocket cost to the district.

The next step in the process will be to hold a public workshop to inform the community on the process and the components of the bidding procedure once the RFP is released.

Board approves changes to septic systems policy

In other business, the board approved a change in the district's requirements for designing, installing and repairing on-site septic systems.

The change from the original policy, which dates back to July 23, 1987, is that the district will allow more latitude to licensed septic professionals to determine what type of septic system is required for a certain lot.

Until now, the policy stated only certain tracts within the district required percolation testing and development of septic tank systems by a licensed septic professional. It also supported the use of seepage/dry well systems in certain tracts, which District Assistant General Manager Mike Sides said is now considered adverse to groundwater protection efforts.

According to Sides, the changes are in line with the new Tehachapi-area specific plan, as well as AB885 regulations when they are put into place in 2018.

"It is should not be our decision as staff or the board to say a certain tract or lot should have a certain type of system," Sides said. "These licensed professionals are in the business and they know what they are doing."

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