The City of Reno has denied an appeal by local business owner Mark McKinnon for his choice to use Green Solutions for his business park’s recycling.
McKinnon has been fighting back against the city’s code enforcement division after it threatened him with possible jail time and a fine of up to $1,000 for not using Waste Management.
City Attorney Karl Hall wrote:
“The city has entered into the franchise agreement to provide such exclusive solid waste (including recyclable material) collection and disposal service through Waste Management. The … agreement was entered into through (Reno Municipal Code) Chapter 5.90, and it mandates that no entity other than Waste Management may provide the service of collection and transportation (also referred to as “hauling”) of solid waste (including recyclable material).”
Hall’s position was affirmed by the hearing officer who handled McKinnon’s appeal.
But the decision came down before the mayor and members of the city council spoke against such exclusivity at last week’s council meeting.
“There was confusion on what that (franchise agreement) really meant,” Mayor Hillary Schieve said.
Schieve maintained that businesses should have a choice when dealing with their recyclables, something that was intended when the agreement was signed, according to two former council members involved with passing the agreement in 2013.
“We went a long ways — had many, many meetings — to make sure that the people who were hauling away recyclables could stay in business the entire time,” said former Councilman Dave Aiazzi. “Waste Management agreed to that; the recyclers agreed to that. No one else could get into the business, but no one else could be forced out. This was not designed to take any business out of business, by any means.”
Hall, in his response to McKinnon, clearly disagreed.
“(Green Solutions Recycling) operates illegally,” he said. “(The company) is providing solid waste collection, hauling, and transportation services within the City of Reno, but it does not have a City of Reno business license to conduct business.
“It is unfortunate that (Green Solutions) is using its customers to illegally undercut and interfere with the franchise,” Hall added.
These statements solidify the city’s legal position about using haulers other than Waste Management: Don’t — unless you want to be possibly fined or thrown in jail.
McKinnon said that he is considering his options at this point. Other businesses using Green Solutions have been similarly threatened by the city with jail time and fines.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor, and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011, where he completed a dissertation on social media, journalism and crisis communications. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.