Letters to the Editor

Outsource trash

October 27, 2011


To the editor:

Mario Cuomo, past Democratic governor of New York, has stated, “It is not a government’s obligation to provide services, but to see that they are provided.”

The city of Lawrence has had a Solid Waste Task Force meeting regularly for almost a year. As an attendee at most of the meetings, I have come to the conclusion the task force should make a recommendation to the Lawrence City Commission to privatize the solid waste operation of the city. The City Commission should put out a request for a proposal to have an outside vendor assume all municipal hauling operations.

Currently, the city charges residents, as part of their utility bill, $14.55 for once-a-week trash pickup plus once-a-week yard waste pickup for about 10 months of the year. The Solid Waste Task Force has been considering — and I predict it will recommend to the Lawrence City Commission — that it institute a mandatory recycling function that will add about $5 to $7 per month to the utility bill. Presently there are several vendors who would be glad to bid for the municipal hauling and recycling of the city. I visited with one yesterday who said he would bid $13 per month for the right to be the vendor of choice for the city and would provide the same services.  Would you like to pay almost $20 or $13 per month for your trash, including recycling?

You do the math.


David Reynolds 6 years, 6 months ago

Why do we need "Mandatory Recycling"? What problem currently exists with recycling that requires mandating costs to recycle? We have numerous recycling options.

Can't the city do anything that does not end up costing us money?

I guess what do we expect, the task force was stacked against the citizens from the beginning. Aron Cromwell stacked the deck when he assigned 9 committed environmentalists to an 11 person task force.

This is a perfect example of how government regulations needlessly raise the cost of both living & doing business in a community for its citizens & businesses.

Another example of the city commission placing "personal agendas" ahead of the real needs of the Lawrence Community. We need reduction in taxes & fees, not increases.

How does this square with wanting to recruit more senior citizens, living on fixes incomes, to the city of Lawrence?

hipgrrrrl 6 years, 6 months ago

I don't think the goal is to "...recruit more senior citizens, living on fixe[d] incomes...". The city is looking for retirees that have money to spend - on sporting events, cultural events and to pad the tax base.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

The math for $20.00 versus $13.00 a month trash pickup:

$20.00 - $13.00 = $7.00 per month, so $7.00 x 12 = $72.00 a year. Assuming that a home costs $100,000: $72/$100,000 = 0.00072 = 0.072%

From: http://www.city-data.com/city/Lawrence-Kansas.html "Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with no mortgage in 2009: $2078 (1.3%)."

0.072%/1.3% = 0.055385 (approx) = 5.5385% (approx)

If a 5.5385% increase in your property tax on a $100,000 home, which amounts to $72 a year for that home is a deal breaker, you will need to move to a less expensive home, or to somewhere where the property taxes are lower. No one has ever claimed that Lawrence is an inexpensive place to live.

(But it is certainly going to take many decades to save any money when moving because the costs of living in one home increased by $7 a month considering the facts that the costs of moving and the sales commission for both the selling agent and the buying agent for your new and less expensive home will be thousands of dollars.)

For a tax amount to compare this tax increase of 0.072% to, the sales tax here in Lawrence is about 9%.

That's the math for a $100,000 home. For a home of higher value, the tax increase of 0.072% will be lower.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

In case someone is thinking, hey, I live in an apartment, I should point out that all of the apartment units that I know of here in town have collective trash pickup, and I doubt very much the tenants will be individually subjected to the increase of $7 per month.

rtwngr 6 years, 5 months ago

Ron, double check your math please.

Corey Williams 6 years, 6 months ago

So fo $13 a month, this vendor of which you speak will pick up trash and yard waste? And then turn the yard waste into mulch and compost to give out freely to those that want it? Sure, ok.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

Sure, as long as he's in business!

Warren Buffett would put it this way: "That does not appear to be a very sound business model."

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

"I visited with one yesterday who said he would bid $13 per month for the right to be the vendor of choice for the city and would provide the same services."

It would be interesting to know what all collateral he has to put up to be forfeited if he is unable to provide the promised services a few decades later. Two $100,000 homes that are paid for will not cut it, he needs to have much more collateral than that to to be forfeited in case he becomes unable to provide the promised services in only 30 to 40 years.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 6 months ago

Two decades later? Come on, in 20 years a lot can change, I suggest that it is put up for bid every 2-3 years to keep the costs low. If he gets the bid and decides to raise the fees, it would not be fair. So there must be some way of balancing the situation.

skinny 6 years, 6 months ago

I'd rather pay the 13.00, forget the City of Lawrence trash severice!!

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

Of course they'll bid low at first, to get the contract.

Then, once the city has gotten rid of the equipment for trash collection, the prices will almost certainly rise.

Also, I'd be interested in the quality of the services - trash collection is one service that the city does quite well, in my experience.

A for-profit company has to pay all of their expenses, and then make a profit.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

What Jim really means is that the Koch brothers pay him to lobby for the privatization of all government services.

irvan moore 6 years, 6 months ago

every group cromwell appoints to look at something has him on it and is comprised of people he knows agree with his preconceived ideas. why does he want to change a system that works well and put city employees out of work?

Getaroom 6 years, 6 months ago

A big plus sign added to Bozo's comment. For Cuomo to be credited with that statement shows clearly the attachment to Big Corp. The system they use to get a foot in the door is simple: Bid low, raise fees one to two years later to make up for the loss leader bid. After that "lalala" period for cities using Big Corp services the prices sky rocket and who loses, who gains? After a city gives up the infrastructure needed to provide those services they are gone forever and Big Corp knows that and uses it as leverage. You know, the model for that is already in place in the Fed Gov, don't you? Corporations run America's "Democracy", or what was once a Democracy.

Think back to how how trash collection began way back in smaller communities like htis one. Who wanted to keep it local so they could call the shots and control the outcomes? Those were our Great Grandfathers and Great Grandmothers, our families were making those choices. And Mullins wants you to believe it will be better and cheaper if done by a Big Corp. We are all going to pay someone for the services anyway, who do you prefer to pay? I think as far as recycling is a consideration, and it should be for the health of the country and ourselves, let the local businesses compete for the service in this case and know that no matter who does the pickup there will always be those who choose not to recycle no matter what. Too inconvenient, expensive, prefer to let it go to the landfill, do't want it mandated. Personally I think all of us should embrace it and if not now when is the best time? Now of course! Is recycling profitable? Obviously if you can collect enough of it, at a reasonable enough cost, it can be. If it were not profitable do you think Deffenbaugh would keep sticking their "collective" feet in the door of communities all over the world!!

keepingfingerscrossed 6 years, 6 months ago

WHY don't you look at the people that will lose there jobs. If you change who are you going to call and complain to if your trash don't get picked up. If you thank diffrent company is going to come back and get it you are funny. The guys that is doing the trash are doing a great job. You get someone else and this town is going to look like s--t becouse they will not care. Come on people.

labmonkey 6 years, 5 months ago

Deffenbaugh charges us $60 quarterly in Shawnee for trash pick-up and mandatory recycling pick-up. I have the option to drop them and go with A-1 or some other trash company since I pay Deffenbaugh directly and not the city. Why does it have to be a monopoly in Lawrence, whether it is the government or one company? Let everyone decide which company to go with.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Yea, I like the idea of having not one set of trash trucks driving up and down the streets and alleys. We need to get several fleets of them criss-crossing our streets, all competing to pick up our trash, and seeing which one can pay the the workers the least money with the fewest benefits.

Maybe we can even get some illegal immigrants to do it for free, given they'll get first pick of the garbage they pick up.

pace 6 years, 5 months ago

If you want to pine for the good old days, let Deffenbaugh get their talons into us. I have worked with them on several projects over decades. I will no longer do so, as they are too good to be true. When the going get tough, they make you sorry you ever met them.

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