Single Hauler – Just because you “can” does not mean you should
Lee’s Summit, March 16, 2011 – The fact that Government can do something, does not mean they should. It appears to be a repetitive and consistent theme with Government; they tend to do things that are not necessarily best for the community, simply because they can.
Lee’s Summit city council is forging ahead with a terrible idea, wasting councilmen’s time and micromanaging the individual rights of the citizens of Lee’s Summit. This is not a new position for me, I was dead set against a single hauler when the Sterling Hills Home Owner’s Association pushed it for all of us who live here; and more so against the infliction of unnecessary City Council Control into the lives of the citizens.
In all that I’ve read, I have not found a single savings claimed by the city; yet I received an update from Councilman Brian Whitley telling all of us in his district what the next step was going to be, and what was decided at the March 10 City Council meeting.
What business is it of City Council who picks up my garbage, and my recyclables? Why should anyone tell us who we should pick to provide a service; so long as we meet the city’s requirements?
Having said all that, what did the city council discuss?
On March 10th the Lee’s Summit City Council heard discussion on a revised citywide solid waste and curbside recycling program. You may watch the discussion on the public access channel or online at: http://lsmo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=719 (Jump to 3B.)
Outcomes of the trash/recycling discussion:
(1) There was significant opposition to only two zones or a no zone approach. If the city were to proceed, the RFP should have multiple zones (four or more);
(2) There was discussion on an alternate proposal (i.e., licensed requirement program) whereby the city increases the license conditions for the haulers as a possible step towards improving the recycling program. The new conditions would require that a curb-side recycling service be included in the base cost of any residential curbside program offered by a licensed Lee’s Summit trash hauler. The trash hauler would also be required to take the household waste that is not recycled to our landfill;
(3) there will be further discussion and the Council expressed a desire to vote this matter “up or down”;
(4) city staff will further research comparisons of municipalities that have a “designated hauler program” vs. cities that have a “licensed requirement program”;
(5) city staff will create mock service zone options for the City Council’s consideration that don’t include HOAs that have existing programs;
(6) city staff will conduct a legal analysis to determine if we can have HOAs “opt out” of the city-wide program;
(7) city staff will prepare the conditions that could be placed in the “licensed requirement program”;
(8) city staff will gather more information regarding the school recycling program, how much is being collected and how much it generates in funds for projects;
(9) city staff will conduct a landfill life analysis based upon all of the LSMO household trash being sent to our landfill; and
(10)City staff may contact the haulers and have them assist us with the zone maps to make certain we have their operational perspective of what works best.
Since you know where I stand on this, let me ask a few key questions about this discussion:
What if I have a problem with my pick up service? Who do I call to seek redress? If I call the hauler, what incentive do they have to solve my problem? I’m only one of many thousands of homes that are all forced to use them for the service. If they only upset less than ten percent of the people, there won’t be a reason to make any improvements. Let’s face it, they are running a business, and will do everything to maximize profit from this contract. There will be a maximum level of unhappiness that they will know to be acceptable, and those of us who fall into that group will have no recourse.
Today if I don’t like the service I can call the hauler and discuss it; if I’m not satisfied, I can talk to the Home Owner’s Association and we can easily monitor it and get the issue resolved. Yet, if the city wide single hauler is chosen, that ability will be ripped away from us, and the City will decide what service we deserve.
My question to City Councilman Brian Whitley and the rest of City Council, do you truly think that Trash should be part of whether or not you get our vote? Should it not be about how many jobs you brought to Lee’s Summit? Should it not be about your ability to manage the resources available to the Fire Department and the Police Department? Should it not be about the City’s infrastructure like sewers and roads and storm drains? Yet many of us who will be unhappy with the trash service, the costs we cannot control, and the service we cannot influence will look at the name on the ballot and make a decision on a weekly problem.
The question to City Council is this; although you have the power to do this, should you? I think not. I think you should focus far more on the Economic Development of Lee’s Summit. Bring jobs to the city, increase the tax base, this is a waste of your valuable time, and it does not unite the city, it divides it.
The lee’s Summit Conservative