Archive for Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Public opinion

City commissioners shouldn’t discount the concerns being voiced about a plan to alter trash collection service.

January 31, 2012


City commissioners apparently don’t have any qualms about forcing a new trash removal and recycling plan down the throats of Lawrence residents. They seem to be committed to the plan proposed by the mayor and his task force regardless of the opposition voiced by many.

Perhaps if the opposition for the proposed plan came from some special neighborhood group in Lawrence or a group who thinks a building permit should be denied because a building casts a shadow on their coffee-drinking area commissioners would pay more attention and be more cautious in calling for a change in the city’s trash collection service.

Recycling and saving the environment is a hot, politically correct topic, but, at the same time, commissioners should be aware of the hardships and added expenses that would result from a trash collection change and apply some common sense to the issue.

It would be wrong to put every controversial issue that comes to the commission up to a public vote, but commissioners should be careful not to adopt a manner and attitude that they know best and members of the public really don’t understand or don’t have the intelligence to make the right judgment on major issues.


cowboy 6 years, 3 months ago

The current track will only increase already ridiculous water / trash costs.My water bill is as much as my electric bill. How about the city enacts a cost reduction goal of 5% each year , absorb the recycling cost thru efficiencies in collection costs. This is not a one way street. If taking less to landfills there should be savings Any automation should be on a trial basis and have to pass efficiency tests. Why are we trying to take over what private vendors are already doing ? Set a fair dynamic sewer charge , this sampling method is punitive. Set a cap on sewer charges in spring summer period. Why should you pay a charge on lawn / garden water. Stop funneling off water revenue to admin departments !

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

The water bill includes water, trash, and sewer charges.

If the water part of your bill is as high as your electric bill, you're wasting a lot of water.

If the combined total is the same as an electric bill, it makes more sense.

Your understanding of sewer charges is flawed - they sample during winter months when people aren't watering lawns, for the exact reason that you mention - they don't charge sewer charges on lawn watering water.

How much do you think it's worth to provide clean water, trash and sewer services?

nativeson 6 years, 3 months ago

The decision to invest heavily in automation is wise, but I am concerned that the solid waste department has an unproven track record of cost management. Prior to the internal audit several years ago that revealed it had been operating at a signficant deficit, the department ran without much review for a number of years. It has done an outstanding job of creating a service that people value, but it has done a poor job of managing the department in a cost-effective manner. Remember that operators work on average about 5-6 hours per day, and they did not even keep track of these hours prior to the audit.

The department has improved its budget deficit, but it has done so by deferring maintenance and capital investment. I do not believe they have changed the structure of the department to truly be self-sustaining.

Now that the model is changing dramatically, can it manage a much different delivery system and not create a significant annual deficit? It is disappointing that the commission did not consider alternatives such as a vendor provider that has already made the capital investment in equipment. This decision is a big risk to the taxpayers of Lawrence. Once the investment is made, it will be very difficult to change course due to the amount of spending that will be put into the department.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

Dolph clearly doesn't like Cromwell very much. I doubt that he could really care less about what happens on the trash issue, though.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

Cromwell's made a few votes I don't like, but I don't think he's at all in the developers' pocket, as so many of our commissioners have been over the last several decades.

seriouscat 6 years, 3 months ago

The LJW proves on a regular basis that it deserves the derogatory "urinal world" nickname. It is a kindness to call this piece of writing an editorial: sarcastic irrelevant barbs which minimize the legitimate concerns of the people who opposed the building at 9th and New Hampshire...(didn't your teacher teach you that this is bullying behavior?) , zero fact- based informative content, dripping with sanctimonious indignation. This piece would fit in much better in the comments section with the rest of us riff-raff.

Absolutely pathetic LJW.

and I agree with the message!

Alceste 6 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps, but it's blunt and to the point. No double-speak to wade through; no "make nice" silliness: Just plain speak. Most excellent.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 3 months ago

"commissioners would pay more attention and be more cautious " Huh?? Who said that!!!!

Lawrence City Commissioners have a long track record of foolishness, stupidity, idgnorance and downright incompetance. They are elected by a miniscule politically agended group of people who bother to vote in city elections.

So who is to blame for the lousey city givernment? Go look in the mirror, did you vote in the last city election? These "commissioners" are completely non-representative of the population at large because they are elected "at large" in a city government form that lends itself to anarchy. Do not expect anything much that is reasonable,, competant or workable from this group of idiologues. (That is the basis of the word "idiot")

hipper_than_hip 6 years, 3 months ago

Since when did the Commissioners care about what the people want? The Planning Commission, City Commission, and County Commission are all in the pocket of the developers.

Alceste 6 years, 3 months ago

Boy, are you being nice's like my daddy said: "It's a hick, college town, son. No more and no less and it most certainly shall never be more and in all probability shall become less."

How much more lesser it gets remains to be seen. But.....Lawrence shall soon be a mecca for retirees! hahahahahahahahhahahaa.....

lunacydetector 6 years, 3 months ago

mayor solar panel should keep his environmental religion to himself if he wants to get re-elected.

cowboy 6 years, 3 months ago

Jafs , your point is as ridiculous as the city's policy. Why fix a rate on a variable item. You could not get away with this in business. Our bills go up. each year by 5-8%. the city has priced most people out of watering a lawn by design. Most of Lawrence looks like a desert in mid summer.

Its worth about half of what they are charging.

Average sewer rates nationally are about 25% of water rates. Lawrences is equal to and often higher depending on your sample rate.

Our auditor raised concerns about siphoned off water revenue , have heard nothing since , auditor got quiet .

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

It's the way they do it - you seem to misunderstand it.

And, that's the reason given by city employees when I asked about it.

Would you rather they charge you for the actual use of water during each month? That way, you'd pay more than you do now for sewer charges, for water that doesn't go through the sewer system.

This actually hurts those of us who don't water yards a lot - we probably pay a little more than we should during those months, because we do a bit more laundry during winter months.

I have no problem with our bills - about $15-20/month for each service seems quite reasonable to me.

We're quite spoiled, really - all we have to do is turn on a tap, and get clean water anytime we like, people pick up our trash every week, etc.

I'd have to check around for other communities, but I seriously doubt they're much less expensive overall for these services.

The concerns about revenue from these bills going to other departments is valid - they should be much more transparent about that. I question it also.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 3 months ago

OK, let's try to ignore two assumptions: 1) some developers should be allowed to ignore development codes; and 2) a majority of Lawrencians do not want curbside recycling.

Moderate has a good approach. Address the most pressing concerns first. The list below addresses current administrative concerns.

  1. Replace old equipment. - Rates should to be raised to purchase new equipment.
  2. Fair rates for volume of trash. Unsightly trash. - Require everyone to use the same size can. All trash should be in the cans. Charge by the can.
  3. Injuries. (I have not read any clarification of injuries)

Recycling is an entirely separate but important issue that should be addressed. Curbside recycling has been standard practice in other communities for years, but throwing the issue in with administrative concerns confuses the dialog.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 3 months ago

If you do not recycle a milk bottle, do you throw it into the trash? You would have to pay either way.

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