Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Middletown Trash Bombs!

For the program to be cost neutral, 95% participation was needed. Well, that did not happen- what a surprise. With slightly over 50% participation, the trash program is costing big bucks, the Daily News states that it is currently $300,000- $400,000 short in projections for next year. So how short is the funding current? 3/4 by the end of the fiscal year (Jul1 ) or appx. $250,000? That shortfall then is coming from all of us to subsidize a system half of us don't use.

The price/bag will be rising, most likely. So far the estimate is another $1.75 for either size. There are those who can't even afford what it is now. So how cheap is your trash removal now?

So what can be done? There is another 2 1/2 yrs. for the present contract. You could force everyone to pay. But how will this be done logistically? Assess everyone a flat fee? Forget the bag system? Or just take the shortfall from the General Fund yearly, thereby charging all of us whether we use it or not? The whole program stank from the beginning. Newport assesses everyone a fee on their tax statement. You recycle if you like or not. Their recycling rate is currently almost the same as ours.

Now we're stuck with a program which is not paying for itself which was the promise and premise behind the new system. One councilor voted against this system- Sylvia. The others seem to have been sold a bill of goods big on promises, but short on reality. To expect a 95% participation rate was a fingers-crossed-behind-your-back premise.

Councillor Silveira expressed concern that lack of participation will doom the program. He hopes for its success but would oppose subsidizing it with tax dollars.

Councillor Sylvia does not support this program. He prefers a tax supported program, as is done in Newport. He opposes also, stricter regulations for private haulers.

Council President Rodrigues added that, if the program is included in the tax rate, it will compound in the future. He urged the Council to do what is best for the residents, as a whole. The proposed PAYT program is the fairest option, workable as details and start up problems are addressed. (from town's minutes 9-4-07)

Heck, I've worn glasses since I was 12 & even I could see that this program was problematic. There is supposed to be a Council meeting on this Mon., but I don't see it posted yet. A budget discussion perhaps?
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