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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    What do you think?

    By JGillman, Section News
    Posted on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 10:31:50 PM EST
    Tags: Trash, Michigan, Monopolies, Government (all tags)

    The Traverse City commission tonight continues debate on whether a single 'license', or more accurately a contract for a single trash hauler with exclusivity for the trash and recycle services in the city and ultimately as an agreement with surrounding townships.

    The benefits as they see it are lower costs for the pick up guaranteed by the winning bidder for the contract, and reduced heavy truck traffic which will reduce street damage and make for quieter neighborhoods.  

    The negatives are obvious.  Its yet another monopoly being proposed

    And even as there are commission members who recognize the moral perils, they suggest they will be in support of such an arrangement that limits the choice of city residents.  Surprisingly, there was not a great compliment of those who disagree with the thought of yet another government picked winning scheme.  However, the mayor's response to emails suggested there might well be a number who preferred to lobby from home.

    I did.

    I am not a city voter, but it is an issue which required some attention, and I think as a county commissioner, I will be faced with a similar issue sooner than later.

    I wrote to all of the commissioners.  which includes one of my own family members:

    "would one of you be so kind as to read this before voting on the Trash (single hauler) issue?

    I disagree with the idea of 'selecting' a winner for the purpose of exclusive trash removal.

    If nothing else has been made very clear this year, its that there is a dislike for elected officials who while trying to do 'the right thing', overstep their charge.

    My father who sits on this commission would argue that the aggregate damage to the streets is enough to pass this and limit the choice of your voter to secure their own trash removal service. If this is the case, there are a number of other activities that you can limit your constituents to as well that might have the same moral equivalency..

    Perhaps only one trip to the store each day by car?
    Fedex and UPS and the postal service compete.  Why would they be allowed to clutter the roads with multiple trucks?
    Toms has some of the same customers as Glens market.  Sometimes those customers ought to be limited as well, it would save quite a bit in road traffic and repair.  you might also apply this to any storefront destination.
    Why on earth would you allow multiple power lines to exist in the same neighborhoods?  Consumers, and TC light and power? one has GOT to go.

    Not moral.  Not right.

    Thank you.?

    Am I off the mark?

    The financial savings are real.  The contracts would be for 2 to 5 years with contingencies for fuel cost increases.  One lucky hauler would get all the cookies.

    Strange however, how as competition none of those who are bidding the deal didn't put the effort into making the savings on such a scale prior to this coming to a head.

    < Hey, Fatso! Gimme A Light While We're Waiting. | Who does Gary Peters (D,MI-9) Work for? >

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    more central planning (none / 0) (#1)
    by Tom McMillin on Tue Dec 21, 2010 at 08:21:51 AM EST
    i fought single hauler at auburn hills when i was on council there.  city bureaucrats choosing this service for residents obviously eliminates competition for residents, allows the city to "get" things included in the bids -- like the city getting a cut (without calling it taxes)...it also breeds corruption - any valuable city contract does.  bids can be manipulated to basically make it single-source...there's a lot of risk they would be adding -- i'd at least force them to adopt radical transparency with this, including posting all bids (after contract let), the bid process, the final contract - probably force the contract to be approved by the council (as opposed to administratively...and like in auburn hills, require that everytime this contract comes up for bid, that all donations to sitting councilmembers in the last five years by any owners, management and their spouses be disclosed within the bid and included in the deliberations.
    also - this is of course the conduit to the city forcing everything green on the residents re: recycling -- and i've recently seen stories about "garbage police" being used to see if people are recycling and to report anything "suspicious" http://www.firetown.com/blog/2010/12/17/fbi-trains-trash-collectors-to-serve-as-eyes-and-ears-in-the -street-for-police/
    -- which can best be accomplished with a single hauler with the city dictating the terms.

    My $0.02 on this issue. (none / 0) (#2)
    by KG One on Tue Dec 21, 2010 at 08:32:00 AM EST
    In S.E. Michigan, most of the cities use only one trash hauler.

    Right now, most cities use Waste Management (WM) for their residential pickup.

    We also have other trash haulers who are now primarily used by local businesses (Great Lakes, Tringali).

    The contract that you've described sounds pretty much like the boiler-plate language they use down here.

    There are some advantages to this in that when residents do call to complain about their trash pickup, it's much easier to track down the offending truck (no pun intended).

    I don't have a copy of the last contract, but I do remember a provision included where the municipality can terminate the contract if they are dissatisfied by the service the trash hauler is providing, so in the end it's really a no-lose scenario for the municipality.

    The companies fight over providing the service at the lowest cost, ultimately benefiting taxpayers, and the cities are free to terminate the contract if they are unhappy if the trash hauler doesn't provide acceptable service (i.e. punctuality, missed streets, residental complaints, etc.).

    Fuel Cost Contingencies (none / 0) (#3)
    by jgillmanjr on Tue Dec 21, 2010 at 08:44:02 AM EST
    So the question is would they really go down if fuel costs go down?

    Yeah, I asked at the one meeting, and the guy said yes. However, I have the suspicion that the city really wouldn't press the issue or really care to watch it at all...

    Here in Kent County . . . (none / 0) (#5)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Tue Dec 21, 2010 at 10:27:57 AM EST
    . . . we residents choose for ourselves which of four or five trash service companies we will "contract with" for our garbage removal.  The billing is done on a quarterly basis, and any resident can change their service at any time before the next quarter starts.  Each trash service provider uses visually distintive containers, so as to make it clear to the truck crews which addresses they're servicing.

    In my neighborhood in Kentwood, yesterday was trash day.  At the various appointed times, the trucks of the assorted companies rumbled down the neighborhood roads and dutifully attended to their tasks in a fairly efficient manner.  So far as I can tell, no undue damage (aggregate or otherwise) has ever been done to our streets by these trucks in the year and a half that I've lived here.  Nor am I aware of any neighbors complaining about noise problems.

    And before you ask, as the neighborhood Republican Precinct Delegate, I take my responsibility seriously and make it a point to stay in touch with my neighbors . . . and not just on political issues.

    Contrary to the Keynesian-Socialist philosophy that so permeates economic policy debates these days, unrestricted competition is the only reliable method to keeping the final cost to the consumer as low as possible.  Regardless of the alleged financial savings, any government-approved (and thus government-protected) monopoly ultimately screws the end-use consumer . . . period.  As you and I know, Jason, in any such discussion, the solution that advances the cause of true liberty for the people is always the best choice . . . bar none.

    Bad Deal For Residents (none / 0) (#6)
    by Rougman on Tue Dec 21, 2010 at 10:59:23 AM EST
    Chartered monopolies are notoriously bad for the consumer from both the cost and service standpoints.  

    If this deal is designed to save the municipality money alone then I suppose it could work out for them as an individual customer--lowest bid gets the job.  Officials might also consider it a major win if they select a company that is head and shoulders above the others in providing a particular service that the city truly desires such as recycling, brush removal, or open top container availability.  The city should be able to choose its own provider because of the benefits it provides them as an individual customer.  

    However, when officials jump head first into determining what services all their residents want and at what price they are flying blind.  I might want to recycle or I might not be able to afford it.  I might compost my own leaves and not need the city to deal with it.  I might never need an open top and prefer to throw my construction debris on the neighbor's lawn.  

    If the city is promoting this as a boon to area residents beyond the very short term they are either ignorant or lying.

    Competition between providers is the only way to assure that individual customers will get the best possible service for the dollar they are willing to spend.  

    I have spoken.

    Fuel Adjustments (none / 0) (#7)
    by grannynanny on Tue Dec 21, 2010 at 12:06:10 PM EST
    Funny you should mention that.  UPS added a fuel surcharge to their bills a couple years ago when gas was sky high.  It never did remove the surcharge from subsequent bills after fuel prices dropped.  Fedex - same thing.  Garbage service - same thing.

    I work in Lansing but live in Clinton County but Granger is the only game in town for rubbish p/u.  I do believe there is a stringent recycling program in Lansing - don't know if it is mandatory.

    • Only Granger? by jgillmanjr, 12/21/2010 01:14:08 PM EST (none / 0)
      • We started by grannynanny, 12/21/2010 02:30:25 PM EST (none / 0)
    No Monopolies (none / 0) (#8)
    by MichWolverine on Tue Dec 21, 2010 at 12:45:32 PM EST
    Even if the contract lasted for just one year, the other haulers in that area would likely be out of business a year later, or operating at a much-reduced capacity.  Therefore, they would be unable to submit bids.

    So, with the competition driven out of business, the lone hauler would be free to jack up their rates (basically hold the council and citizens hostage to pay whatever they demand).

    The elimination of competition is never a good thing.

    Here's one for you J-man... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Corinthian Scales on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 11:02:04 PM EST
    ...straight out of what Rep. McMillin was talking about.

    Check it out: Garbage Gestapo

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