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Proposed Trash Fee Hike and Alcalde Selection Tonight at City Council

The role of alcalde or "honorary mayor' dates back to Mexican Rule.

Sonoma City Council tonight will select the city's honorary mayor or "alcalde." Nominees are Les and Judy Vadasz, Gary Edwards and Robert Wilson, all philanthropists and local volunteers.

Also on the council agenda is a proposed trash fee increase of 4.59 percent which would go into effect Jan. 1.

Alcalde Vote

The role of alcalde dates back to Mexican Rule in California, when the person was in charge of a vast variety of town functions, from land transactions to criminal justice. In modern times, the selection of this Sonoma citizen of the year has been made by the council each December since 1975.

Each year, a committee is formed to review nominations from the public. It's comprised of the three most immediate past alcaldes available, the mayor and the city manager. This year's nominating committee included outgoing mayor Joanne Sanders, outgoing city manager Linda Kelly and former alcaldes Whitney Evans, Mary Evelyn Arnold and Niels Chew. Three candidates are forwarded to the mayor prior to the second meeting in December.

Tonight, Mayor Ken Brown will make the nomination and the council will vote to ratify it at this meeting or the first one in January.

The selection critieria are:

• Broad spectrum of voluntary community service to Sonoma Valley;
• Has served in a leadership role in at least one non-profit organization;
• Has spearheaded at least one community-serving project without compensation;
• Is well-known for consistent behind-the-scenes good deeds;
• Does not seek public accolades or recognition for work done;
• Adheres to a high standard of moral and ethical values.

Garbage Fee Proposal

Sonoma Garbage Company (SGC) has proposed a 4.59 percent fee hike, which would produce a combined rate increase for the typical residential customer with a 32-gallon container of $.33 per month [from $7.29 to $7.62]. The increase is proposed based on the Refuse Rate Index, which is based on a variety of published rate data. It includes an annual increase in tipping fees at Sonoma County Central Landfill. The less costly option of hauling to the Napa Transfer station expires this month.

The increase also would cover a new SGC program of commercial food waste collection for composting. It would be offered to business customers at no
additional charge over the collection service cost. Participation in this program
has been voluntary for businesses that generate food waste such as restaurants, grocery stores, inns, etc. SGC has reported that the pilot project has been well-received by commercial establishments and is recommending implementing the program on a permanent basis, according to the staff report.

Tonight's meeting is at 6 p.m. at the Community Room on First Street West.

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