Citizens of Corunna, what is our city council up to now? They are proposing a change that will affect all of us in some way.
In 2007, Corunna enacted an ordinance regarding trash removal. There were two basic provisions. First, by signing an opt-out form, you could use any private server who was licensed by Corunna and receive back-door pick-up service. Secondly, if you did not sign the form, you would be served by the city selected service provider, and would use curbside pick-up.
At present, 717 households use city pick-up, 20 use bags purchased from the city and 129 residences are opted out. The proposed change would eliminate the opt-out choice and put the opt-outs into the city curbside service.
Joe Sawyer, our city manager, explained the rational behind the proposed change in a recent newspaper article. Making everyone use the city selection would lower users’ bills by 50 cents a month, or $6 a year. Also, it would end the problem of people who illegally do not use either type of service.
He cited examples of such illegal activity: Some people generate only one bag a month and drive it to a facility themselves. We have some people who own a business and utilize a dumpster and take care of it that way. Some people opt out and put their trash on a neighbor’s curb. That is not allowed. If people opt out of the program, it (trash) must be disposed of legally.
I personally find these arguments to be frivelous and without substance. I find it to be even more upsetting that the city would feel that citizens would give up their democratic privilege of choice for 50 cents a month.
Is this a new trend? I called our nearest government entities. Owosso will send you a list of servers they are aware of. If none are to your liking, they suggest you go to the Yellow Pages and find someone there.
Caledonia Township said to just pick someone. They are not in the garbage business. I question why we are, and to such a restrictive degree.
Why is the backdoor pickup important? Anything put at the curb becomes public property, to be carried off by anyone. This creates privacy issues. It encourages identity theft. Not everyone approves of the public sorting through their old mail, their prescription bottles or seeing what personal items they buy. Some prefer not to push a heavy loaded container through the ice and snow in the winter. Some rebel at giving up the long-term trash server who has been their faithful person for decades. They take the idea of supporting your local businessman seriously.
I’ve used Kelly for decades. I have never had any issues with him. He graduated from Corunna High School and has faithfully served our area since then. Why would I stab a local businessman in the back in favor of a national server, based in another state?
Our city is usually neat and sanitary, and problems that arise are because of citizen neglect, not the servers. Police hands are tied if there are complaints. They have to serve notices and wait a required amount of time before action can be taken. Perhaps that is what should be looked at.
I have no argument with Republic. If you use them and you are satisfied, great. You chose to exercise the opt-in provision. I only ask that I be afforded the same freedom of choice that you enjoyed.
There is a lot more at stake here than appears on the surface. In a democracy, we are obligated to make sure our elected representatives truly represent our views. If not, democracy is whittled away at every level.
Trash is a small thing. Would you like it if the city selected your internet/phone/TV provider? Would you like it if their choice had only one news channel and did not reflect your viewpoint? Democracy survives because we protect it.
Join us in the community center in McCurdy Park at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6 for a public hearing on this issue. Protect your democratic right of choice.
See you there!
Edythe Reineke, Corunna