Steamboat City Council to hear bag fee proposal | SteamboatToday.com

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Steamboat City Council to hear bag fee proposal

No action scheduled on possible charge

Agenda highlights

5 p.m. Proclamation recognizing USA Pro Cycling Challenge local organizing committee chairman Jim Schneider and other committee members; Yampa Valley Recycles presentation about disposable plastic grocery bags; mid-year financial report; joint meeting with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association Board of Directors; resolution ratifying the intergovernmental agreement with Routt County to conduct a regular municipal election Nov. 1; and second reading of an ordinance to adopt the uniform election code of 1992.

7 p.m. Public comment; consideration of Casey’s Pond senior citizen community final development plan; and second reading of an ordinance to permit goats on small residential lots and an economic development update.

— Catherine Carson just wants to start the conversation.

The Yampa Valley Recycles board of directors member said that's the goal of her presentation Monday to the City Council about the possibility of Steamboat Springs imposing a fee on disposable grocery bags. The City Council is not scheduled to consider any action following the presentation.

Carson said her presentation, "Let's Talk Plastic," will recommend that council members begin to discuss taking the next step.

"The bottom line is plastic is bad for the environment," she said. "The next step is to reduce plastic in our environment. That's the key. This is a grass-roots community effort."

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:05 p.m. in Centennial Hall.

Carson has said the bag fee proposal is an extension of Yampa Valley Recyles' efforts to reduce disposable bag use locally, including the Keep Our Mountain Green reusable bag program. The program has provided thousands of $1 bags since it began three years ago.

Several other Colorado communities are considering ordinances that would impose fees for disposable bags.

According to news reports, the Aspen City Council and Basalt Town Council approved first readings of ordinances to impose fees on disposable grocery bags Aug. 22 and 23, respectively. The Aspen ordinance would charge 20 cents to patrons per bag, while a fee for Basalt would be considered on second reading.

News reports also indicated that the Carbondale Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider a similar ordinance later this month. And the Snowmass Village Town Council has agreed to continue discussing the use of disposable grocery bags.

Carson said her presentation would offer suggestions, such as starting a bag fee program on a trial basis, charging 20 cents per bag as other communities are doing, allow retailers to keep 1 to 2 cents to cover their fees and require that bigger stores participate while letting smaller ones opt in.

She said the fees not kept by the store could be used to provide reusable grocery bags to people who receive assistance from social service organizations, education or funding for environmental programs.

City Council President Cari Hermacinski has said she would have preferred the idea to charge a fee for using disposable grocery bags to come because the marketplace demanded it, not because government required it.

Also at Tuesday's meeting:

■ The City Council meeting will begin with a proclamation recognizing Jim Schneider, chairman of the local organizing committee for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, and his committee members. The group worked for nearly a year to organize the professional bicycle race's Stage 4 finish and Stage 5 start in Steamboat.

■ City Council members also are scheduled to have a joint meeting with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association Board of Directors.

■ The council will consider the final development plan for the 121,000-square-foot Casey's Pond senior citizen community.

■ The council will conduct a second reading of an ordinance that would permit goats on small residential lots within city limits.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com