Waste offer letter: take it or….

Unsigned trash letter from Lowndes County I received the appended unsigned letter from Lowndes County recently, which says the 5,000 residents of the unincorporated parts that currently use the county’s waste disposal sites can sign up with Advanced Disposal (of New York City) for curbside pickup or…. There is no or. So look forward to trash dumping long roadsides, in parking lots in town, and on your property. And neither outgoing County Chairman Ashley Paulk nor County Manager Joe Pritchard even had the courtesy to sign the letter.

After noting that back in June the county changed waste permit cards from 12 months to 6 months, the letter says:

At purchase, information was made available regarding possible future options for solid waste management in unincorporated Lowndes County.

So the county is backing off from claiming card buyers got a letter spelling out options. I got no such letter with card purchase.

This consideration became necessary due to revenue generated by the sale of the permit cards, not covering the cost of operating the centers.

And that’s all the accounting we get. Where is the summary of expenses for the centers compared to revenue? The VDT reported from the Commissioners’ stealth retreat back in April:

“In total, the county is currently spending $782,058.34 each year for solid waste disposal, a reduction from $1,176,207.75 in 2007.”

As I pointed out then, “So that’s a rapid reduction in cost to less than a third of what it used to be, and less than half of what it was only a year ago.” Later Joe Pritchard said those numbers didn’t include everything being spent. So what was actually being spent? We the taxpayers and we the card payers don’t know. After a long series of meetings to which the public was either not invited at all or was not invited to provide input, at its last meeting of the year (exactly as I predicted), Commissioners approved changes to the solid waste ordinance eliminating the collection sites and granted a monopoly to Advanced Disposal Services of New York City.

Former Chairman Ashley Paulk recently complained Moody AFB had become “privatized”. Yet at his last Commission meeting he presided over privatizing the county’s public service of solid waste collection.

Three new Commissioners were just sworn in yesterday, including a new chair. The new Commission in the new year is not, so far as I know, bound by the decisions of any previous Commission. It could undo the damage the old one just did. Or it could, like the old one, ignore concerns of public health, safety, and the environment that the state requires them to implement, plus concerns of local waste collection businesses, of local residents about recycling and about the lack of any other option than curbside; will the new Commission continue to kick 5,000 county residents towards curbside collection or tossing their trash in the your yard?

Unsigned trash letter from Lowndes County:

Unsigned trash letter from Lowndes County

Unsigned trash letter from Lowndes County
Scanned by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).