6/17/2010

Garbage Reform Update

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported:

The Common Council decided Wednesday to seek proposals from garbage collection and recycling companies using a format that would give residents their choice of three sizes of city-sanctioned garbage cans.

President Richelle J. Pasceri said the bidding envisions a system of “utility-based billing,” whereby the cost of garbage collection would be taken out of the regular property tax and billed separately to each property owner — including those who are tax-exempt.

However, the bill would vary based on the size of garbage tote each resident chooses: 35, 65 or 95 gallons, Pasceri said. The figures will depend on the prices quoted by the contractors servicing what is called the “variable cart” plan.
This is the plan that I prefer. The uniform totes look much better as the curb, the built in lids keep the trash in place and each residence pays relative to how much they dispose of. All I'd ask for is a dark green or black color to look nice at the curb and alongside the house. The extra recycling tote will be a PIA at first but I can vouch that a good portion of our trash now is cardboard, etc.

I also agree with Jack Smith in getting the garbage responsibilities out of the city's long term costs:
Alderman Jack L. Smith Jr., D- 2nd Ward, said he wants to privatize collection because the city won the right to do so in the new contract approved late last year with the city’s blue-collar union, which includes garbage workers.
“That’s what the whole contract agreement was for,” he said
.

46 comments:

LC said...

MJ- I rencently have been driving thru our city taking a good look at what kind of trash gets put out each week. There's no doubt about it- most rental properties have much more trash than single family homes. I just happen to have quite a few rentals in my own neighborhood and I find it amazing to see how many pieces of furniture, mattresses, and junk sit out at the curb repeatedly week after week. Some garbage is put bags, some are cascading out of cans or just thrown out on lawns. Sometimes trash gets left behind or there are items put out way too early. This unsightly trash really brings down the neighborhood. Not to mention it has brought skunks, opposums, rats, racoons, etc. foraging thru at different times.

This should really be a no-brainer. I can't imagine why people are so against the receptacles and totes. To me it makes perfect sense and it's much more equitable than what we have now. Even if you are not subject to what I have just described in my neighborhood, wouldn't you like knowing that each property would be handled more fairly?

Rocketboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Well Rocketboy it's not rocket science! What will happen is that landlords will be forced to have to purchase more than one reseptacle and tote and will have to tell their tenants that they can only put their trash in the reseptacles and totes. The city will have to enforce the laws and fine when needed. Hopefully the pressure may make the landlord's more selective on who they put in if the trash isn't taken care of properly. If not, start paying the fines.

Meanwhile rodent problems will decrease (which btw- we do have them in the city!), we don't have to look at all the "CRAP" laying all over our neighborhoods each week and we can know that the Joe Shmoes are paying more now for the heaps that are out infront of their houses each week.

What's fair is fair!

MJ said...

For some counterpoints:

A) A uniform law with a uniform container will make enforcement easier. Right now its a free-for-all at the curb and we all pay for it. I was shocked how liberal the garbage pickup was when I moved here. It is true that it will still need to be enforced.

In Buffalo the totes forced most of the rats, etc out torwards Cheektowaga. They do work in pest control. It also makes trash day look as good as it probably can.

B)As you mention it will help spread the costs out.

C)You can sell your old cans on Craig's list or recycle them ;) It's only "more for less" because of the free-for-all system we're trying to move on from. No different than when water use went to meters. Putting usage into the cost stops senseless wasting. Why should I subsidize someone's filling of their pool or some low assessment rental unit's mountain of trash? I believe that I should not.

D)Where do you feel the complexity is? Anyone will still be still free to put everything in the garbage tote. They will just be paying more since they are dumping more. Or they can recycle, if they choose, and pay less. There is a choice. When I lived in Buffalo large garbage pickup was the first garbage day of each month. It was often enough and you didn't need to walk past mini junk yards every week.

We are not the pioneers in the pay-for-tote-size system. Most of the articles I have read over the years have had similar intial negative reactions but turned out to work rather well. At least that's how I see it :)

Rocketboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LC said...

Rocketboy, I'm not sure if you understand but the largest receptacle is 96 gallons which is the equivalent of 3 regular size cans. Also from what I understand there will be a large trash pick-up scheduled periodically in addition.

As an experiment, start being more concientious about what you're throwing out. I noticed that even though I recycled cardboard, newspapers and sometimes cereal boxes, that was the extent of my recycling of paper products. Now I try to be more aware of paper packaging which I bundle also with my papers each week. With the new plan it will include glass, tin and plastic. For the most part that's a good portion of what people throw out each week. I also have a garbage disposal for any food scraps. I really think for the most part average size households will not be an issue.

Rocketboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LoneWolf said...

Greetings~

You all bring up some VERY valid points in reagard to this issue.

I'll try to touch on each one .. with out being too terribly "wordy".

As far as garbage pick up in general, I will agree that pickup or disposal is a bit lax in that. However that is mostly for the businesses. I know for a UNDENIABLE fact that businesses are in fact allowed to put garbage out to the curb in thier own receptacles, and will get picked up, DAILY, unless of course ther is a dumpster available on property, then that gets picked up weekly or sometimes twice a week depending on dumpster size.

Regarding reycleling, the Town and City of Cheektowags, does have a recyleing plan in place, and there are scheduled pick ups for ceratian thins , such as cans, bottles, plastic(comingle as they call it) and then a separate day or week for cardboard and/or paper produtcs.

This schedulde rotates through the month and JUST ABOUT each resident gets a calnedar sent to them each year as to when certain things can be put out. They ALSO DO THIS for grass clippings, which to be honest is really a waste of manpower dollars, considering as they say you SHOULD leave the clippings on the lawn for fertilzer.

They also have .. I believe it's 2 times a year, could be more, for an "anything and everything" disposal, and that LITERALLY means anything and everything, from as small as paint cans and tires, to as big as sofas and refridgerators or pieces of lumber.

Cheektowaga also had a "pilot program" (they were one of if not the first communities in WNY to have this program) MANY YEARS AGO where the residents were given recpetacles for garbage, that where on wheels, and they were about the size of what LC had had they are.. they then had a truck that came by that was "comically called" the "one armed bandit" . only took one or two people to be in the truck, and they had controls that worked an "arm" that came off the truck, and picked the recptacles up, dumpted the trash in the truck .. and set the receptale back at the curb.

Since this was a "pilot program" the truck was , kind of in "beta stage" and a little "buggy" but it wokred verey well, versues having 3 or 4 workers on one truck to pick up trash. One to drive and 2 or 3 to ride on back "platforms" to jump off and grab the trash from each side of the street.

The reason I know all this info .. about Cheektowaga is that before i moved to this area and have the job I do now, i used to work at one point ( as a summer worker) for the Town and City of Cheektowaga, as a sanitation/garbage worker) and much of these programs ARE stil in use to this day. So if Cheektowaga or other communities can do it .. why not "little old" Lockport.

These programs did hlep IMMESNELY with the "errant" trash showing up in and around the streets. As well as pest problems. AND a better "bottom line" for the Town and City finances/budget.

Just my thoughts on this patrticualr matter.

~Jeff

MJ said...

The one article stated that the truck lifts the cans and dumps them. Cuts down on back injuries etc.

And as mentioned above there is no "mandatory" recycling. Anyone is free to throw out everything.

Anonymous said...

Why not get prices for another option, the same as the town has now. I think they can leave out up to 5 containers plus the recycling bin. It's not as 'pretty' as everybody having their own tote but it seems to work.
It avoids the cost of buying the totes.
Also, what happens when people move and take the tots with them? Are we going to send police everywhere looking for totes?

LoneWolf said...

MJ~
Yes you are right those trucks DO save on back injuries which in turn would save the city on "comp casers" for the workers that do get the back injuries from lifting.

Regarding the recycling, granted, thers is no "mandatory" statute on Recycling, however with the "bins" or "totes" I belive it would have a type of "cause and effect".

Meaning, supply the totes(cause), and poeple will be more likely to do the "required" recycling(effect). And as I mentiones above, set ceratin dates for certain things, OR have all recycleing on the normal garbage day, and only have the "bins" or "totes" for the glass,plactic and metal, and have hta cardboard separate from the "bin" or "tote"

Just make sure the residents know what can an can't go in the container.

To Anon @ 3/23/2010 7:36 pm ~
SOME communities allow people to buy extra recycling containters as well as getting one for free, the free ones should be left out of a courtesy to the next residents. If you purchase one(or several) I don't see an issue with the person taking it with them.

Rocketboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

any things better than these primadonna trash workers in lockport.ive never had so much trouble over trash removal and lets raise cities taxes again as if we dont pay enough already

Rocketboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

its picked up ok ,also you probably never had trouble with them taking bags that weigh exactly 50lbs (the limit).i had to always call to get them to take it.i had houses for 30 years and never had this much trouble with trash pickup.also the taxes are very high here,so your paying for trash pickup anyway.

MJ said...

I've only had a bag left once. I knew it was heavy (did not know weight) but thought I'd give it a try. I don't blame them for not taking it.

I also doubt they have a scale so "exactly" 50lbs wouldn't be noticed. I just go by if I would want to lift the bag I'm putting out over and over.

These totes would make all that a non-point.

Anonymous said...

MAYBE, BUT WHAT IF YOU LEAVE BAGS TOO,THE BAGS I LEFT THAT THEY WOULDNT TAKE ,MY WIFE BROUGHT TO THE ROAD AND SHES PETITE, ALSO I LIFTED IT ONE HANDED,ONE DAY I WEIGHED ONE FOR THE HECK OF IT ,IT WEIGHED 46LBS,THEY WOULDNT TAKE IT TILL I CALLED AND TOLD THEM I CHECKED IT MYSELF..LIKE I SAID SOME OF THOSE WORKERS ARE PRIMMADONNAS

Rocketboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

there getting paid good money,i dont ever remember people complaing years ago,they were glad to have a job...too many restrictions today.also i use contractor bags they rarely rip.i know trashworkers that work for private companies and been doing it for years and they feel the same as i do about these workers today

Anonymous said...

We already pay for trash pickup in our taxes, will we be rembursed for that to pay this new trash plan? Or will they keep that and charge us for this also? I do not think it fair we pay twice so they should get this point out and tell us the plan. thanks!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why the City of Lockport is so far behind in their recycling....other Towns started their recycling system years ago.

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is the multiple sizes. When I lived in Rochester, everyone paid a flat rate for the same sized trash bin. I paid a certain amount and got a 96 gallon trash can. I don't remember exactly how much I paid, but I can tell you for darn sure that it was less than what I'm paying for a much smaller trash bin now. The fact is that yes, this is all a nice idea, but we are PAYING for the same thing twice. My taxes went UP this year, not down, and in the last several months, I've paid over $200 for trash pickup - $140 when I first got the bin, and I just got a bill for $70. This is one of the many reasons that Lockport can't keep citizens and one of the many reasons my wife and I are putting our house on the market this week. We've had it with this city and its nickel and dime policies. Oh, and it doesn't fix the trash problem - my neighbors' trash still ends up in my yard...

Anonymous said...

Rochester refuse rate are $343.00 single family, $687.00 double family and $763.00 for 3 family. Seperate rates for homes which have business working out of it are much higher. So yeah I'd move to. Well thought out. PS they dont have taxes in the Town.

MJ said...

People will complain if you give them a choice and others will complain if you don't give them a choice. It is true in politics that you can never "win" as there is no clear definition. for the extra $40/yr I got the biggest tote. Why worry about fitting things in? We still overfill our recycling tote.

The first bill was for all of last year up to October. The current bill is for the first part of this year plus the three months of Modern service last year (I believe). Delayed payments never go over well. Even with consumer goods there is usually regret when the bills finally do come on what is not "used" merchandise.

It appears Rochester's rates are twice the city of Lockport's. If this is true you should be paying less than half of Rochester's current rates.

It was well documented how much was pulled out of last year's budget for the trash collection (1.3 million if I recall) If it was not pulled out the tax increase would have been that much higher. I posted all budget numbers here for every department.

Buffalo, Amherst etc are current following Lockport's lead with their refuse programs. give credit where credit is due. The panel of government and volunteer citizen's did a very good job on a project no one was going to be happy with. It is fair to complain about things but credibility is lost when credit deserved is not given.

It's all to easy to be an American suburb where residents can pull out of an older area, leave all the "bad credit" behind while still profiting from all benefits that the critical mass of the old area still provides. Similar to mooching off your parents till your 30, leaving them with loans on your education, patting yourself on the back for a job "well done" and then going "to bad, so sad" when you see the state of decline they are in.

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