During their December 14 workshop meeting with CARTM representatives, Commissioner Baertlien noted that the Secretary of State had sent letters to the Commissioners on two occasions admonishing the County for being in violation of State Budget law for overspending its appropriations within the Solid Waste Fund. Ironically this was during a period that CARTM was subsidizing County waste collection and recycling services by charging an unrealistically low franchise fee for operating the transfer station and fundraising to help offset waste collection and recycling services. This valued service for north county residents was to a large degree being sustained on the backs of its volunteers, patrons and underpaid staff.
The County business model for waste collection and recycling apparently includes operating hundreds of thousands of dollars in the red and repeatedly violating State Budget law. One might think that when faced with a systemic problem of this nature, elected officials would seek a local partner who has a state and regional reputation as an innovative leader in waste management and recycling to find solutions. That did not happen despite the Commissioner’s repeated acknowledgement that CARTM was just that type of leader. Instead, CARTM is portrayed as the problem and the solution is immediate termination without any consultation with staff on possible succession plans, input from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee or completion of the previously agreed to Memorandum of Understanding between the County and CARTM designed to begin to find a mutually agreeable solution to north county waste collection and recycling services.
All bad decisions need a convenient rationale for justification. CARTM’S lack of a new “business plan” was a convenient rationale to divert attention from the broken business plan that the Commissioners continue to ignore.