The ability of people to compartmentalize issues amazes me. The debate over Springfield’s trash fee is certainly one of those issues. The City Council rejected the mayor’s latest effort to increase the fee. I would agree that a plan to charge more while giving residents smaller trash containers was doomed to fail. Pay more and get less is never a recipe for success.
The overarching trash fee increase issue is what is perplexing. It is not just the trash fee, it is how it relates to our overall budget. The effects of the recession continue to hammer cities and towns. Income does not meet expenses. The often used argument that the trash fee is already paid in our taxes is so ten-years ago. Many things used to be paid in our taxes that are no longer covered. Just look at our school, police and fire departments.
The world has changed and we need to acknowledge and deal with it. We (myself included) will have to pay more for trash removal. The question is hammering out a fiscally responsible and politically possible solution. Speak to people living outside of Springfield and find that they are paying more and getting less from privatized trash collection services. Even with a moderate price hike we are still getting a better deal with the City in the trash business.
Opponents to an increase often use the, ‘I am on the fixed income.’ argument. First, we are all on a fixed income! In all my working life I have never heard of anyone going to the boss and getting a raise because their car payment, electric bill or trash fee went up. I do agree that some payment structure be set-up to account for hardship cases.
To be sure there will be some good political theater at City Hall in the coming months as this issue continues to be debated. Lets hope the reviews are good.