Mad River Union
TRINIDAD – The Trinidad City Council met Dec. 11 to discuss several agenda items, including the appointment of a new Planning Commissioner, the status of the citizen’s Law Enforcement Committee, and the possibility of adding an electric car plug-in station somewhere inside city limits.
The council was also treated to a whirlwind presentation on the Humboldt Waste Management Authority’s operations at the meeting, courtesy of the organization’s Executive Director, Jill Duffy.
Trinidad is working towards becoming a member of HWMA, a joint powers authority made up of several local municipalities. Among the highlights of Duffy’s presentation: a brief history of HWMA, a description of the logistics of trash disposal in Humboldt County (All trash gets trucked out of the area. “It’s not cheap,” Duffy said.) and a rundown of the organization’s fees and services.
The council also got updates on HWMA projects, including the Cummings Road landfill cleanup and the city of Eureka’s restaurant food-waste composting pilot program. “We are all responsible for creating waste, and for reducing it,” said Mayor Julie Fulkerson. “The more information we have, the more likely we are to change our behavior.”
The council was unanimous in its support of the electric car plug-in station idea. As electric cars become more common, plans are being made to try and extend the grid of plug-in stations. “We are the perfect place for one, with so many people passing through from all over the country,” Fulkerson said.
The council got an update on the actions of the Law Enforcement Committee from councilmember Jim Baker, the council’s liaison to the citizen’s group. Baker said that going forward, the committee plans on meeting quarterly, and the local Neighborhood Watch program is emerging as the best option to spearhead the group’s efforts. “Communication is going to be at the heart of that,” Baker said. He noted that the group suffered a setback when its chairperson was recently hurt in a ski boat accident.
The council also addressed recent complaints of gunshots in the Scenic Drive and Westhaven areas. Shooting firearms on private property is legal under certain circumstances, but Baker cited one case in which the person in question had been drinking and began throwing rocks at Sheriff’s deputies who arrived at the scene. That suspect was arrested.
Also at the meeting, a member of the public stood up and read a prepared statement voicing her displeasure with Sheriff’s law enforcement services in the area. Trinidad used to operate its own small police force before opting to contract with the Sheriff’s Department a few years ago.
“The deliverables of the contract have not been met,” said the speaker, complaining that police presence has not been what was agreed to under the terms of the contract. She also said that the Sheriff’s office refuses to enforce certain codes that the old police department used to enforce. The council was receptive to the concerns, while noting the logistical challenges involved. City Manager Karen Suiker said that “the end of the fiscal year, when the contract runs out, is the time to address that.”
The council also welcomed Diane Stockness as the city’s new Planning Commissioner, filling the seat left vacant when Grace Rotwein moved outside city limits. Members of the Planning Commission must live within city limits to serve.
Stockness has lived in Trinidad for 37 years and has been active in the Trinidad Elementary PTA, youth soccer and numerous civic organizations. Stockness was unable to attend the meeting, but the council expressed excitement at getting someone of her qualifications. “We are fortunate to have someone who is steeped in Trinidad history and projects and is willing to serve,” Fulkerson said.