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East County Cities Push Joint Waste Agency : Trash: Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Moorpark will consider combining waste and bargaining for lower landfill rates.


The cities of eastern Ventura County on Wednesday took the first formal step toward creating a joint waste agency that would unite Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and unincorporated county areas in dealing with their trash.

The city councils of the three cities and the County Board of Supervisors are expected to consider the agreement given tentative approval by their representatives Wednesday, which creates the East Ventura County Waste Task Force. Thousand Oaks officials did not attend Wednesday's meeting because of a scheduling conflict, but they have already expressed support for the association, officials said.

Under the plan, the task force members will consider combining east county waste and bargaining for lower landfill rates based on the larger volume.

Although the state recently approved the creation of a countywide waste authority, trash officials said it would be at least a year before the group is established. City representatives said the East County Task Force will allow them to move forward more quickly on their trash issues.

"I think what we're telling them is that we're not going to sit around and wait any longer," Simi Valley Councilman Bill Davis said after the meeting. "We didn't want this taken as a scare tactic. We still want to work with them, but we're not going to sit and wait forever."

Even without a ratified agreement to form the task force, city and county representatives have already asked staff members to start researching how the groups could combine their waste and negotiate for lower landfill rates.

"We can't do any worse than we're doing," Moorpark Councilman Scott Montgomery said. "I mean, the rates are not going to go up, and there's a real chance they could go down."

According to the draft agreement, members of the task force would meet once a month to discuss issues of mutual concern and devise mutual strategies for how to deal with them.

The group's major purpose would be dealing with the state-mandated goals of AB 939, which requires cities to cut the amount of trash they send to the landfill by 25% by 1995 and 50% by the year 2000.

Working together in an organized way will also allow the east county cities to present a united front when testifying at Ventura County Waste Commission meetings, rather than all expressing the same viewpoint individually, officials said.

"We've done that, really, over the past couple years," Davis said. "But we never were able to say, 'This is the East County Task Force.' "

The meeting was attended by Ventura County Supervisor Vicky Howard, Simi Valley Councilwoman Judy Mikels, Davis, Montgomery, Ventura County Solid Waste Management Department Director Kay Martin and various staff members.

Officials were careful to point out that the task force would not necessarily be in conflict with the proposed countywide authority, nor would its members be precluded from belonging to both groups.

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