MY WORD: Don’t throw out trash talk

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By Dave Mayhew

As one who attended the Shelbyville City Council’s public hearing on curbside trash and recycling, it was disheartening to see the turnout and hear the spin put on the subject. In my opinion the spin was at best misleading and worst self-serving (“Curbside trash, recycling talk draws small crowd,” July 31).

There was an assumption that since there was a poor turnout that most city residents are in favor of curbside trash and recycling. Consider this: There were five residents who attended, three of whom were from the same subdivision. All were against or had serious doubts about the plan. Should I therefore assume the residents are against the plan? Consider this: At the 6:30 p.m. meeting time, many people are getting home from work, going to work or sitting down to dinner. How many people knew about the meeting?

The council may have met the letter of the law by posting the meeting in the paper, however on such an important issue of mandatory curbside pickup, where people are being forced to pay additional money and take a service they may or may not want, could more have been done?

The cost of this service – whatever it is – we are told would be added to the city water bill. This is on top of the 3.5 cents per $100 assessed value we are already paying for solid waste and recycling.

Maybe the next hearing could be better publicized and at a time more convenient. Many of the people I have spoken with when asked their opinion on the hearing said, “What hearing?, “When was it?” or “I already have trash collection and happy with it.”

Some of the selling points that were given "an opportunity for everyone to recycle.” People can already recycle if they choose to. Another was “eliminate the need for residents to provide their own trash receptacles.” Many residents have trash pick up service now, and the receptacles are included in the service already.

Then there is the "city administration could oversee any complaints or problems that the people may have" That should work out well.

When the idea of allowing those who do not want to be a part of the curbside pickup be allowed to opt out, it was stated, "That won't work – it would be an administrative nightmare.”

That may or may not be a valid reason. Computers do a great job helping to solve administrative nightmares. Look at the complexity of the ever-changing water bill. It can change every month for hundreds of customers. The city seems to be able to handle that very well, I might add, I submit.

There may be other reasons, one of which is that because the county didn't want any part of the plan the numbers had to come from somewhere to get enough people to be in a position to negotiate price with the trash companies. So enter mandatory participation.

Should we accommodate the wants of some at the expense of others? Does this sound a little like that redistribution of wealth plan coming out of Washington? The government is going to take some of your money to make it better for someone else – yes, there’s more to it than that, but there are similarities.

Maybe we should consider leaving well enough alone. It has been working for years. If the city must implement this plan, then part of that plan should allow for those who do not want to be a part of it. That way all the citizens’ interests are addressed.

After all the hype, salesmanship and spin settles, it is up to us to make an informed, intelligent choice, inform and hold accountable our elected officials. Maybe there will be better attendance at the next hearing.


Dave Mayhew lives in Shelbyville.