INCLINE VILLAGE, NV - Outcries from residents in Incline Village bring a change into how they are storing their trash. Wednesday afternoon, the Incline Village General Improvement District held an informal council meeting to get a consensus from the public and to discuss its next steps, which means it could get a little more expensive for its residents.
"We're trying to get people to recognize that there is a bear problem in town and we do not want to be responsible putting the bears down," Bruce Simonian, Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees Chairman, said.
Bears are raiding trash cans and even homes, looking for their next meal.
"We're the ones with the responsibility, not the bears, so it's the awareness of the residents primarily," Simonian said.
That's why IVGID has taken a proactive approach, implementing a trash ordinance that protects the bears and punishes people who don't keep garbage and from wildlife.
"Just having a chain on a receptacle is not gong to create the compliance we're looking for because the bear can still lift it open six or eight inches and reach in to grab trash," Simonian added.
If it's your first offense, you'll have to pay a fine and replace your old trash receptacle with a bear-resistant one. Those fines will increase to $1000 with additional offenses.
Currently, it's not mandatory for homeowners to purchase these bear-resistant trash bins, but it's heading in that direction. Residents will be paying small increments every month to cover the cost, which could range from $250-$3,000, but neighbors think it's worth it.
"The only way we can alleviate the trash can problem is for 100% enforcement," Megan Warren, a resident of Incline Village for 8 years, said. "It can't be negotiable and it can't be voluntary."
"The majority of the people that live here are very respectful of the bears and having a receptacle they couldn't get into would really be a wonderful thing," Joan Lucas, a resident of Incline Village for 13 years, said. "It would help everybody."
IVGID wants to remind residents to call the Washoe County Sheriff's Office if there is a bear on your property, leaving the Nevada Department of Wildlife as a last resort.
A formal meeting will be held on September 25 at 6 p.m. at Chateaux
Golf and Country Club.