Picking Up the Trash
Thursday, August 10, 2006 :::
The Richmond city council has its collective nose out of joint over a proposal from Mayor Wilder to cut the budget for trash collection. Along the way, we learn that some council beings consider this a core government service:
"Picking up the trash is a core government service," Pantele said. "It seems to me there are a lot of things we shouldn't do before we stop picking up trash . . . we sure have bought a lot of plasma TV displays lately."
Core government service. It's right up there with law enforcement.
But what's this about plasma televisions? Someone call the Jaded JD!
The Wilder administration is installing new display monitors as part of a dressing-up of the lobby at City Hall.
Hmm. Usually when people want to dress up the foyer, they install recessed lighting. Or add a fresh coat of paint. Nevertheless, council president and future HOD candidate Manoli Loupassi leaps into the trash heap with both feet:
"The bottom line is, we gave you $550 million and you can't pick up the trash," said Council President G. Manoli Loupassi, referring to the budget the council approved in May.
"We can come up with $600,000. All he has to do is get rid of those guards he's got," Loupassi said, referring the team of nine city police officers who serve as Wilder's drivers and security detail.
Well, Manoli has a point about Wilder's posse. But I would like to suggest that rather than continuing to require Richmond residents to pay for trash pick up (and paying less than the actual cost the city incurs for providing this life-or-death core service), they consider privatizing the entire operation.
In my portion of Henrico County, there is no government-subsidized trash collection. Instead, I pay a private hauler, Mr. Green, $25 a month to do the job. He comes twice a week and will take away anything and everything I set out. It's a great deal for me and he's got a thriving business. We all win, thanks to the miracle of the marketplace, and he does it for only slightly more than the city of Richmond charges its residents (on a per visit basis).
Maybe the city ought to consider sticking its toe into this brave new world. Free the garbage men!
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 8/10/2006