Lee’s Summit, April 6, 2011 – Representative Sheila Solon (MO-55) introduced a bill which requires voter approval of any contract with a single-source provider of trash collection in certain cities, towns and villages.  The bill has been read twice and has been assigned to the Local Government Committee, Chaired by Chuck Gatschenberger (MO-13).

The bill introduced by Solon is of interest to the Lee’s Summit community because City Council is currently evaluating a single-hauler proposal.  The text of the bill can be found at: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills111/biltxt/intro/HB0918I.htm

Today the public hearing was completed, and Representative Gary Cross was in attendance to, as he put it “Hear both sides before I make up my mind.”

Representative Cross said that there were several speakers in opposition to the bill that included the Missouri Municipal League, Mid America Regional Council, the City of Kansas City, the City of Branson and Solid Waste Management.

Speaking for the bill were Deffenbaugh and an individual from Raytown who owns a Trash Hauling service.

Deffenbaugh Industries, Inc. [according to their web site] offers a variety of services, including residential and commercial waste disposal services.  They are one of the largest recyclers in the Midwest; Deffenbaugh Recycling collects, processes, and markets a wide range of commercially-generated fiber and paper products, and many other recyclable materials.

The bill did not come up for a vote and a lot of work remains to be done.

I find it very interesting that someone like Deffenbaugh would support the bill since they are sufficiently large to be very competitive in the region to gain these single-hauler contracts.

Lee’s Summit has a public Council meeting this Thursday where the Single Hauler proposal is going to be discussed (City Staff Information)

In an e-mail from Lee’s Summit District 2 Councilman Brian Whitley he stated his own opinion on why the single-hauler proposal makes sense from the city’s perspective.

1.       Individuals (not covered by a Home Owner’s Association Contract) pay as much as $20.00 a month for trash, recycling and yard waste removal, however some HOA’s have much better pricing:

a.       Winterset pays $9.58/mo.

b.      Stoney Creek pays $9.15/mo;

c.       Longview Farm and Meadows of Winterst pay $8.40/mo;

d.      Oak Ridge Meadows pays $7.83/mo.

e.      Woodland Glen pays $8.00/mo;

f.        Timbercreek pays $7.09/mo;

Whitley wrote “The thought is that the city can leverage the homes to achieve a low price to residents”.  Further commenting on fixed income residents he wrote “We have a fair number of families looking for relief”.

2.       Fewer trash days of service provide for a cleaner city and eliminate the possibility of having trash cans out every day of the week.

3.       City staff estimates that the additional wear and tear on the roads is $400,000 per year with 15 trash trucks on the road versus 3 with the single-hauler proposal.

The most significant point that Councilman Whitely brought up is that, “Lee’s Summit can better manage its landfill.  As I understand it, the city is responsible for maintaining the landfill for 30 years after closure (circa 2017) by State law.  The city needs a certain amount of tonnage to keep it operationally positive but also to extend the life as long as possible.”  He further added, “I want to convey that I want to keep the landfill going as long as it is economically viable for the city and its citizens.”

A point to consider as we evaluate the single-hauler proposal is that by better managing the tonnage going into the city’s landfill; it will allow the city to achieve both a profitable landfill and one whose life will be maximized.

Both State Representative Gary Cross, and City Councilman Gary Whitley have an open mind on the issue and are working to understand all the ramifications.

I don’t see the conflict here between what the City is considering and what Representative Solon proposed in HR918.  Each of us can evaluate the benefits as well as the detractors from a single-hauler proposal; and if we get the chance to vote then Democracy has had its course.  What I fundamentally object to is an action of this sort by City Council without the voter’s approval.

The voters of Lee’s Summit have proven time and again that they understand the issues and will support the city’s growth.

Present the facts, and let us have a chance to vote on the single-hauler proposal.

Respectfully Submitted,
The Lee’s Summit Conservative
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