Smile! You’re on garbage camera
Two local governments might someday team to see what type of materials people are dumping at the recycling center in Basalt.Ongoing problems with people pitching old sofas, tires and trash under the cloak of darkness has gotten Pitkin County and Basalt officials pondering the use of a “garbage cam.”Basalt officials want the problem addressed because it creates a junky appearance at one of the entrances to downtown. The recycling bins are located just downvalley from the Basalt library on old Highway 82, now known as Two Rivers Road.Pitkin County officials want the problem addressed because their landfill staff spends so much time cleaning up the garbage that is out of place at the recycling area.”In a week, we probably visit this site 10 times, at least,” said landfill manager Chris Hoofnagle.In a joint meeting between the two governments this week, officials said they hope to move the recycling bins to a different location in town, either at or near the post office. They prefer to lower their visibility without decreasing use.Officials noted that the post office won’t allow the recycling bins on its property for long if people dump unsightly garbage. Town Council members said they will consider an ordinance establishing a stiff fine for anyone caught leaving inappropriate trash at the recycling site.Pitkin County Commissioner Dorothea Farris also suggested tackling the problem by using a “stealth camera” in a tree near whatever site gets selected. Commissioner Mick Ireland said it would be better not to hide the camera. Other officials suggested planting a camera within view at the recycling center but not filming.”They’ll never know if it’s a dummy or not,” Farris said.And if they do decide to film, Farris said, the tape could have entertainment value. “Put it on government-funded TV on a boring night,” she said, alluding to a local cable television station used by the upper valley governments to spread their messages.No firm decision was made about using the camera to prevent people from dumping trash at the recycling site.In other news from the meeting between the commissioners and Town Council: The commissioners stuck to an earlier verbal agreement to sell three sections of the Maroon Creek pedestrian bridge to the town for $75,000 or four sections for $100,000.Those prices will stand, as pledged, even though new information shows it will cost the county more to remove the bridge than initially thought. The cost will be about $62,500 per section.Basalt council members said that price was too high – probably higher than buying a new bridge. The majority of the county commissioners said they wanted to see their old bridge used locally, so they stuck to the initial price for Basalt.”The idea is you cooperate and you don’t always make money off your neighbor,” Commissioner Mick Ireland said.He also said it would be absurd if the two governments couldn’t find a way to move an existing bridge 18 miles to a new home.”We’re going to have one bridge turned to scrap and another one built. That’s just so American,” Ireland said.That reasoning helped solidify the original deal. The Basalt council urged Pitkin County to pave a stretch of the Rio Grande Trail running through Emma and on the outskirts of Basalt. About three miles of the trail are gravel that creates navigation problems for children on bicycles and parents pushing baby carriages.”To get the ultimate use of that trail, it needs to be a hard surface,” Basalt Mayor Leroy Duroux said. He noted that equestrians are the only constituency he has heard from that wants the trail to remain a soft surface. County officials said horses could be accommodated by a gravel shoulder on the side of the paved trail.The county’s Open Space and Trails staff is conducting an online survey through July 4 to gauge public opinion on the issue. The downvalley stretch of unpaved trails starts at the old Emma school, goes upvalley past ranch pastures and Basalt High School, through the Roaring Fork Club golf course and over the Roaring Fork River and Highway 82 before intersecting the Basalt-to-Old Snowmass Trail. Other unpaved stretches are around Woody Creek.Trail users who want to participate in the opinion survey can find it online at http://www.riograndetrail.speedsurvey.com.County officials said the trail could be paved next year if that is the consensus of users and decision-makers.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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