Renew Our Trash


Yes, that is a cat box. Sorry about that but the city started it by deciding that they think they know best on dictating how people take out their trash. Although called a “pilot” program at this point, as described in the Daily Chronicle article, my guess is the city will put this program in place. I do not believe this is a cost-savings plan. Instead, this gives the city the opportunity to make everyone’s trash look the same. DeKalb would look like some sort of Yuppieville, with matching garbage cans. I do not need nor want a trash can. I certainly do not want to be forced into buying two new ones. How will the city buying trash cans for everyone save citizens any money?

The city went after the police, AFSCME, and firefighters to re-negotiate contracts, with the threats of layoffs. Obviously, the firefighters got layoffs. I seriously doubt that the city would hard bargain with WM about re-negotiating its contract to save money the way employees were treated.

Because I am still recovering from surgery, the timing could not be worse, or perhaps better because I have empathy for those with physical challenges. Although moving a receptacle with wheels from the garage to the curb may not be a problem for the injured, disabled, elderly, or short in stature, the problem is getting the trash into the receptacle in the first place. Lifting anything higher than my waist right now is still a problem. I could get the cat litter out to the curb the past couple of weeks, only because I could carry the bags by the handles up just a few inches off the ground and set the bags by the curb. There is no way I could have lifted the bags up and into a trash receptacle.

I see the following issues:

1. My guess is the cost-containment excuse with WM to avoid ‘risky’ flucuations in cost with a CPI-based plan is a smoke screen. My guess is this is yet another attempt to renew DeKalb’s trash and is more window dressing in hopes of becoming more like the rich suburbs to the east. According to the 8/10 meeting agenda, the cost increases to the contract are 0, but then 4%, 4%, and 4%. There is no cost containment, and those increases are higher than the overall CPI anyway for every year but one in this era. Here is the overall CPI from the government:

CPI All Items (includes fuel!):
2002 2.4
2003 1.9
2004 3.3
2005 3.4
2006 2.5
2007 4.1
2008 0.1
2009 2.7 (first six months)

As always, past performance cannot guarantee future performance but it is very likely that WM will have a better deal with the annual 4% increases, which means there would be no cost containment for the citizens.

2. City employees should be treated equitably with other outside contractors. If contracts with outside companies will be honored, then contracts with employees should be honored as well. How about not accepting any of the bids for the pass through? How can we be certain the architect’s cost estimates are correct?

3. Think about those with physical challenges. Forcing them into taking the trash out the same as everyone else might be a problem. I solved my own physical challenges and found a solution to getting my trash out in a self-sufficient way. I just had to ask for help with the trash the day I came home from the hospital. I would not want to have to ask for help in getting the trash out more than that.