Trash or Treasure?
So Hanover Borough Council will discuss setting a new rate for garbage collection this week. The topic has started to draw some attention thanks to councilperson (and my friend) Heidi Hormel, who is against the proposed rates. Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle while I sympathize with her main point.
In short, the borough will switch from a split-rate system which ranged from $57.75 to $73.50 per quarter to a flat quarterly rate of $70. The old, lower rate supposed that people did all their recycling on their own instead of using the borough’s once-a-month curbside pickup.
One of Heidi’s biggest beefs is that the borough has not taken a serious look at outsourcing the service. I can understand wanting to do that, although I don’t feel as strongly as she does about it. Part of me kind of likes knowing that the people doing the work are borough employees and not a contractor.
That said, I do think the borough has a responsibility to do what’s best by the citizens even if that means taking a hard look at whether someone on the outside can do the job better or if an outside service will financially benefit taxpayers.
This is garbage collection, not police service. While I like knowing the borough guys handle the trash, it’s not something sacred that should remain in place forever. But even if you do declare discussing outsourcing verboten, you need to do a better job with the service if it will remain borough controlled.
Other municipalities offer full curbside recycling with more than one pickup a month. I hear the borough will add newspaper recycling to the curbside pickup and eliminate some sorting, but that still leaves borough residents to take some items to the recycling center and keeps plastic completely out of Hanover’s recycling stream.
If you’re going to tell me that adding these to the curbside pickup – and expanding pickup beyond the pathetic once-a-month service – is not cost-effective, do not tell me that there can’t be a fully transparent examination of alternative garbage collection services so we can all see the pros and cons.
If keeping control of garbage collection is truly the best thing for Hanover, the least council can do is make Hanover’s the best garbage collection system around instead of tossing around excuses for why we can’t have what our neighbors have.