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Verner backs regionwide trash summit

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said Friday that she supports county commissioners’ call for a Solid Waste Summit.

The purpose of the proposed two-day gathering of city and county leaders is to establish the framework for a new system of governing the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System.

Spokane owns and operates the garbage-disposal system, but county commissioners and leaders of other cities want a health district-style coalition to take over. The issue stands in the way of an extension of Wheelabrator Spokane’s contract to operate the Waste-to-Energy Plant, which expires Nov. 16.

Commissioners proposed the summit Tuesday after Verner suggested an all-out effort to resolve the issue within 30 days.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said Verner “is supportive of the idea of getting all of the jurisdictions together, and she wants to stick to the 30-day timeline. That will be her caveat.”

Commissioners and Spokane Valley City Councilman Gary Schimmels suggested conducting the summit on Feb. 2 and 3, but the dates haven’t been confirmed.

Feist said Verner wants some advance legwork so elected officials have specific proposals on the table when they meet.

“She was going to work with the commissioners or have her staff work with their staff to see what could be done,” Feist said.