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We stand behind the endorsement of city’s plan

Published 8:27pm Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Friday, the city of Selma is officially out of the garbage business, reportedly putting the city in line to save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

For that reason and the fact the city faced only problems during its tenure as a refuse company, the move away from operating a garbage service, and turning it over to a private company, was a fantastic idea.

With that said, and knowing that we offered our whole-hearted endorsement of the proposal months ago, the implementation of the switch, the promotion of the sign-up period and the overall response from the residents of Selma, was anything but spectacular.

There is only one day left to sign up for garbage services with Advanced Disposal and so far only a few hundred residents have signed up. Only a few hundred out of thousands. That is disappointing to say the least.

We give the city and Mayor George Evans’ office an A for effort in this transition, but effort alone did not prove enough this time it seems. They scheduled meetings throughout the city to allow residents to ask questions and get direct answers from officials from both the city and Advanced Disposal. Only a few dozen residents turned out to the latest meetings.

Current customers were notified and information was published regularly in the newspaper and through online sources. Information was also sent out about how to sign up for the new service along with bills for the city garbage system.

Again, good effort but disappointing results.

Should we have expected anything different? Remember, there is a significant portion of Selma’s residents who receive garbage services now and ignore their responsibility to pay for it.

This has led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in uncollected garbage fees simply sitting on the books, likely never to be collected.

Now, a private company will take the responsibility for providing garbage services, sending out bills and expecting payments. But, unlike the city, they will simply stop collecting garbage if they are not paid.

Then what?

It is our hope, the city of Selma finds a way to reinvest the expected thousands of dollars in savings in a stronger code enforcement office, one capable of ensuring those who fail to pay their bill do not turn their yards into neighborhood landfills.

We stand behind our endorsement of this plan for the city to get out of the garbage business, but hindsight being 20/20, we might have suggested some stronger marketing efforts.

 

  • popdukes12

    I must agree, If you simply can’t manage something that has been around for a hundred years, then turning it over to someone else is a fantastic idea. The City Water Board doesn’t seem to have a similar problem collecting. City code enforcement allowed a woman on Alabama Ave. to live in a house for a year with no running water because of a $2,000 water bill. I also agree that this new found wealth shouldn’t simply be absorbed into the general budget, but applied (at least in part) to increased code enforcement. The practice of a uniformed officer having to accompany the code officer when writing a citation needs to be looked at, and maybe an assistant to do all of the ownership research that is currently being done by the code officer should be looked at. As you know, I’ve not been in favor of the city taking on more debt, relinquishing a core functions, increasing taxes or fees on the poor, or increasing contributions to every social effort that comes along. Let’s hope that the city will not see the need to “farm out” any other services that are usually incurred by a city. Remember the city already pays the county $200,000 a year to house misdemeanor (drunk, fighting,etc) inmates.

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