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February 19, 2013 - 7:10am

Today's Poll: Which trash pick up system would you prefer in Batavia?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Carol Foster
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I'm really getting confused about this trash business. The city wants us to shop local. ARC is local. The city decides to prefer a company who SAYS they can collect trash more cheaply AND charge for a tote (ugly thing), PLUS charge each household weekly. (I know they said "per year") If we don't own a fancy house, wow, we get to pay MORE for this luxury! WOW! Is this the same council who wants us to purchase products from a local (not chain) store, because it benefits the merchants here? We will pay more but keep it "local". To me, this is the exact opposite of what city council is trying to push down our throats! Shopping--keep it local==pay more. Leave town or shop chain store==pay less but no benefits to city. Now compare that concept with ARC and ALLIED. ARC--keep it local==pay more. Allied-out of town (heck, out of state)==pay less if you are living above your means, still pay more if your house has lower assessment. Only IMPLIED benefits to city and no time frame to keep it that way. I, for one would rather pay more anyways, keep the true LOCAL service, and give LOCAL citizens a job! Where are the heads of city council, or should we help to serve them up on platters?

Rich Richmond
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The City of Batavia needs to get out of the garbage business entirely and allow the residents to choose their own venders. Free choice is always good.

John Roach
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Picking up garbage is just another service we buy. Right now the City has a locked in, no opt out, contract with ARC. The administration is now recommending a locked in, no opt out contract with another company.

If you think you are smart enough to pick the garbage vendor that best meets your needs, without having to be told what is best for you, then Free Choice is a great option. Really, do you need big brother telling you who you have to pay to pick up garbage?

With free choice, if you want to keep your current trash cans or put out bags, you can still have ARC. If your only concern is help the disabled, then you can still have ARC. If you want something different, you can hire someone else. But YOU, nobody else, makes the decision.

You pick your phone service, Internet provider, TV service (cable or satellite, lawn service, and who plows your driveway. If you are smart enough to do any of these, then your smart enough to pick your own garbage disposal service.

Jim Rosenbeck
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The referendum here goes well beyond trash removal. The upcoming vote will be a litmus test for City Council. Which members will be bullied and brow beat into ignoring the wishes and communications of their constituents? I have received no response to my emails to three different council members. Others have indicated that their council representatives have been directed by the city attorney to forward all emails on the trash issue to him. It seems to me that our input is not only unwanted but actively discouraged. That's what happens when city hall is convinced it knows what is best for us and council members are convinced they need to be compliant subjects of the crown.

Mark Potwora
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Looks to me the poll says that people want change...They don't want to leave the old system in place..Over 400 people thinks that the current system is not the way to go..Freedom of choice should be the number one choice for council to consider...The city needs to be out of the trash business. Arc will keep picking up trash to those who want it..The city won't have to spend 500,000 dollars for totes.Businesses will not have to pay for a service that they don't use....They city will be able to lower the tax rate by 1.72 per thousand...And all taxpayers will have the freedom of choice.....Which should be the main factor for all on council to consider...

david spaulding
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a question for the "freedom of choice" advocates..what are you going to do when your neighbor doesn't pay his garbage bill?
the garbage will pile up,and it will keep piling up until someone gets paid to pick it up..maybe you live next to a duplex and the owner,for whatever reason,doesn't pay his bill.the tenants will still produce garbage and it will pile up...
i'm pretty sure most of you get along with your neighbor,do you also trust them enough to dispose of their garbage properly? ..if something like this happens to you,will batavia need to hire "garbage police"?do you sue your neighbor in court?whatever you do and while you are doing it,the garbage is still piling up.

John Roach
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David,
That could happen. I don't doubt there are a very few right now who just don't feel like taking out the trash. But sooner or later, they do get reported. I have no problem with that.

I am willing to take the chance that out of over 15,000 people in the city the vast majority will not want to hoard their garbage in the house. And this has not been a big problem in the Town of Batavia, where Free Choice is already in place, or in other small cities where you have free choice. I have to believe people in Batavia are as good as they are.

I want to be able to make my own decisions. I do not need the City to tell me who I have to hire just to take away my garbage.

We have enough government rules and regulations now. We just do not need to be told you will have this company or that company, and you have no options because they know best.

david spaulding
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john,you trust the residents of batavia,fair enough...now let's take the same logic with the police force..i want to hire my own security, i don't want to foot the bill for batavia's finest....i will need the city council to reduce my property tax since i am no longer using batavia police.i want to make my own decisions too,but when you live in a city and have people living next door,you do need some kind of organization.

John Roach
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David,
That's a common argument used.

The difference is that there is legitimate role for government to provide services that 99% of the people can not provide for themselves. It is not financially feasible for you to hire your own police force to patrol the city, for to fund your own private fire department. Odds are you can not afford big trucks to plow your street (let alone the fuel). I doubt you could pay for your own sewage treatment plant. There are just no practical alternatives.

And in the case of the police, we as a society have given them the right to kill you under set circumstances written into law. There is a good reason not to allow everyone to write their own rules on deadly physical force.

But garbage? There are already 4 vendors who have bid good money for your trash. You have viable options.

Paul Weiss
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If I could offer one piece of advise as a person who served 9 years on the Batavia City Council: Batavia will regret the day they get rid of the ARC. In my nine years when the the ARC was the contractor, I never received one complaint about trash. You have a good thing going with the ARC. Make it work.

Jim Rosenbeck
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David, I don't see garbage piling up in the town of Batavia. There aren't rats feasting on mounds of refuse. Somehow municipalities and individual citizens get by when government gets out of the garbage collection business. Perhaps we need to re think what services we need government to provide for us and what we might better do for ourselves. I firmly believe that when the private sector can provide a service as well as government can provide it, that service should be left to private providers. given a choice, I would contract privately with ARC to collect my trash. However, I wouldn't impose my preference on you or any of my neighbors. You asked about police protection and what would happen if we were all left to hire our own private security. I would suggest that police protection is a service that falls within the legitimate scope and authority of the government. As not everyone can afford to provide their own security team to protect their life and property, the government is empowered to provide that service and distribute the cost among its citizens. Your Private security force might only be inclined to protect your individual interests and enforce only those laws you choose to see enforced. Unless we are prepared to return to feudal times, this probably isn't a workable solution. This being said, government might still do a better job in providing for our personal safety. Is it optimally efficient that we have a city police force, a county Sheriff's department and our NYS Police all charged with providing for our safety? I don't think so. Most of us would agree that even our personal safety needs could be provided for in a more efficient and coordinated manner, albeit still be our government. It occurs to me that most of our desire to see government provide for so many of our needs comes from our fear of what we would do without those government services with which we have become accustomed. I prefer to embrace more self reliance and personal responsibility. We could do with a whole lot less government.

Howard B. Owens
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Police enforce laws that are common to and for the good of all society. The idea that police can some how be privatized and is some how comparable to garbage pick up is flawed on its face.

I've argued that sanitation is a public matter. Jim disagrees.

The big difference between police and sanitation that weighs favorable toward Jim's position is that garbage pick up can be an individual service in a way that police protection cannot.

My prediction: The proposed changes to the waste management law fails on a 4-5 vote (my guess: Buckley, Holley, Doeringer, Russell, Pacino vote against the change and in favor are Christian, Cipollone, Briggs, Canale -- that's just a total guess and don't ridicule me when I'm proven wrong!!!).

My fear is, when it fails the opportunity to get garbage collection off the tax roles will be lost for a decade or more. That garbage will be come a third rail of Batavia politics and nobody will want to touch it.

If a new effort is made to revise garbage collection is made, the idea of "pick your own vendor" system might actually get through. If a series of meetings were held to hash out options instead of city staff coming up with some behind-closed-doors idea, I think "pick your own" would find sufficient support to work its way into the proposal. If this were truly a public and transparent process.

If that happens, I wouldn't necessarily count on Genesee ARC to choose to be among the vendors so long as they could fashion some position in the recycling business.

John Roach
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If the ordinance is voted down, the exclusive contract with ARC will still expire, leaving no vendor. The trash service is already out of the budget, so it sould not be too hard to propose a new amendment just taking us out of the business.

Dave Olsen
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Thank you John and Jim both for elegantly explaining "Limited Government".

Mark Potwora
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Howard ..I think Doeringer, Russell will vote for the change....Doeringer represents ward 1 and most of those people want it...Russel who i talked to said he likes the idea and would vote for it..But it would be fun to see how people on here think the vote will go....Do you know who was on this committee to go out and ask for bids for trash? Sounds like this whole process started last summer.....Malino could not of been acting alone..Some one on city council had to give the go ahead to do all this..City Council acts like they were blind sided by this whole thing...I am sure they could of told Malino at any time to not put this whole thing out to bid....What happens to the budget that they are spose to vote on if this fails...Will they need to go back and have public hearings on the new budget?

Rich Richmond
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Good point, John.

A new amendment officially taking us out of the garbage business would seem to me the best decision.

It absolutely would be a non-partisan course of action where nobody could reasonably accuse any Council member of showing favoritism to one group or another.

Howard B. Owens
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You make a good point about Doeringer, Mark. I hadn't considered. For the same, but opposite reason, I could be wrong about Briggs.

Dave Meyer
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I voted to make it a system based on free choice of vendor. I've already cited examples of 2 cities in New York where that works now (Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls). I would not be surprised if there are others.

It seems that most people would like to keep ARC as the vendor. I'm not opposed to that. If ARC were to provide services in a choice based system, I would probably go with them even if they were more expensive. It's the right thing to do.

I just don't believe it's a good thing for the city to be in businesses that they don't NEED to be in. They learned it with the ambulance and the trash collection/recycling is no different. The city doesn't NEED to go into debt $500,000 to buy totes that aren't NEEDED.

This is such a simple problem to solve and council is suffering from paralysis by analysis.
I have volunteered (if necessary) to serve on a committee to review the issue should one be formed by council.

John Roach
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Dave,
Free Choice should be a no brainier. People are always saying government is too big. From how much soda you can have at a movie to how many bullets you can have in a gun, government is over reaching.

Years ago, maybe a locked in, no opt out, contract with ARC made sense. But that does not mean it is the best for us now, decades later. We have vendors now who will offer this service, including ARC. There is just no good argument to say you can not make up your own mind.

You like ARC, keep them. They will be happy to continue to serve you, but it needs to be your choice.

Michael Pullinzi
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Funny how John is flip-flopping on this one. In the recent past, he was the biggest proponent of the mandatory totes and removing ARC.

Deb Wagner
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The majority of the people have spoken so keep ARC. Its just like a election the winner is supposed to win

John Roach
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Good try Mike, but as usual, you're wrong.

When this first came out, yes, I liked the tote and the bid. It took garbage off the property tax. But the only option given was the locked, no opt out, contract. Things have changed in the past few weeks and we have a real chance now to get the City out of the garbage business. That did not seem like an option even 5 weeks ago.

And to say I wanted to remove ARC, is a distortion of fact. If ARC had won the bid, I would have supported them. Search your memory, I wanted the pay per bag, with ARC. But that idea is dead, so we move on.

You have to get out of that "this is the way we always did it" mode.

John Roach
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Deb,
With Free Choice, the majority of people can still have ARC. You will not be forced to have anyone else.

Michael Pullinzi
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As usual John, you change your facts to fit the direction of the wind any which day. Anyone can go back and see your numerous posts strongly supporting the changes, ARC loosing the contract, and mandatory totes for all. You also claimed that it was going to save most homeowners on their trash pick-up. I'm happy you are changing your tune though as you remain wrong on all those accounts. I'm also VERY happy to see the outpouring of many citizens against the changes you did support as otherwise you would have had your way. At least there are options being considered now with some input from citizens rather than things being crammed down our throats.

John Roach
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Michael,
Read slower. I said I originally wanted the new system. But at that time any chance to get the City out of the garbage business altogether was very remote.

And ARC loosing the bid was not the same at being anti ARC. Again, read slower, maybe a lot slower. I said I would have supported ARC, had they been the lowest bidder.

Like you, but for different reasons, I am also glade the way things are turning out. I believe in freedom of choice when possible. With Free Choice I can have totes, or bags, or cans. I can hire ARC, Allied or Waste Management. But it will be my choice.

Michael, do you really need City Council telling you who to pay to take away your garbage? Wait, you live in the Town of Batavia, and already have what some of us want-Free Choice.

Michael Pullinzi
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Perhaps your the one who needs to re-read John. I understand that is what you are saying NOW, but NOT what you said in the past. In the past your strongly supported the mandatory totes for all claiming it was a great system and fair, claimed a huge savings for homeowners, and didn't care at all about ARC. Even now you couch you comments by saying "if they had been the low bidder." That is not support of ARC at all. Funny how public outcry causes the Roach winds to change, but like I said happy to see you change even if it isn't how you REALLY feel.

John Roach
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Michael,
Very good, you finally understand what I am saying NOW, based on changed circumstance that did not exist even 5 weeks ago. Good for you! Finally!
I do not understand your inability to see things have changed in a way nobody expected.

It is true, that unlike you, I do not support any vendor unconditionally, no matter what. But not wanting to buy a more expensive service from ARC (under the proposed bid that will now not pass) does not translate into a dislike for the vendor.

And why would public outcry casue me to change my mind? I am not running for any office now or later. Are you?

You want ARC, with no changes, paid for by property taxes. You do not like Free Choice for us, while you enjoy it in the Town. I get it.

Rich Richmond
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Michael,

I am a lifetime City Resident. I own a house at 20 Washington Avenue my residence and one at 250 Ross Street that was originally my parent’s home and is now mine. My house at 250 Ross Street is not a rental; I am not a landlord.

I’m for free choice. I want the City out of the garbage business.

As a non-resident of the City of Batavia, you absolutely have a right to post on this forum about this issue. The exchange of ideas and opinions should be encouraged.

I pay taxes on two properties in the City of Batavia; John Roach pays taxes in the City of Batavia. Do you pay taxes in the City of Batavia?

You appear to be an ARC supporter; good for you!

I was impressed by the well organized turnout of the ARC supporters at the February 11th City Council meeting; it was standing room only.

They spoke as one voice; a symphony of passion, integrity and solidarity; often speaking folksy or interjecting some humor.

The only sour note with all the speakers and I don’t recall the woman’s name, insinuated that Rose Mary Christian had an interest in Allied receiving the contract because Rose Mary owns a business that uses dumpsters.

The sour note made this mentioned comment without providing any proof whatsoever. She then conveniently left before Rose Mary could respond during the portion of the meeting set aside for Council members to respond to the public comments; how brave; shame on this nameless woman.

You seem to have a great deal of acrimony against John Roach.

May I ask why?

John Roach
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Michael does have rental property in the City and is a landlord, so he does have an interest in the outcome.

Rich Richmond
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Thank you, John, and so he should have an interest just as I.

I remain for free choice and the City getting out of the garbage business.

As a landlord, apparently his needs are different from mine.

I want to contract directly and want the garbage fees removed from my taxes.

Michael Pullinzi
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Well, Richard, my comments on John Roach's changes are well deserved as he VERY recently argued very strongly against ALL who tried to support NOT removing ARC and keeping our present system. Removal of the trash fees from our taxes will only cost everyone more as it removes it's tax deductablity so if your in a 23 % or higher tax bracket, which we all are, it will cost you 23% or higher if this change is made. Some at the very top may pay less, but the overwhelming majority of property owners will pay more under the proposed plan as well as being mandated to use the totes. John also strongly supported the totes and has now backpeddled on that. He also supported eliminating ARC and couches it as he would support them "if they were the low bidder" despite the bidding being rigged by adding criteria that would require burdensome costs effectly making them non-competitive. He also supported the whole mess claiming it would save everyone money which has been clearly shown not to be true. John and I have known each other a long time and he has, prior to now, attacked my support against the proposed trash plan as much as I have been critical of his support for it. We have mainly been political allies through our friendship, but it doesn't stop us from disagreeing with each other at times. Glad you think I have a stake and a right to post since I own three times the properties that you do in the City (and didn't inherit any of them), was an active City community resident for years, and only moved to the town in the last ten years just outside the City. Not one Councilman or the City Administrator is talking about free contracting in the City so lets stick to reality. Common sense and good leadership led the City to having centralized trash service and it would be very difficult and pose serious health concerns to have it any other way. Do you know of any other City that has free contracting? It would be very suprising to me to have free contracting seriously considered as an option in the City of Batavia. The best idea I have heard to date is to remove this proposed trash plan from further consideration and spend the next year with some serious public input through citizen committees with diverse paticipates so all can be heard and the best, well thought out, plan can be achieved. Such huge changes should never be made hastily. Batavia and it's citizens deserve that consideration.

John Roach
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Michale,
Free Choice is in place in Glens Falls and Saratoga. And Saratoga is bigger than Batavia. And while smaller, it works right where you live, next door, in the Town of Batavia. The Town of Batavia has not had any major issues allowing people to decide for themselves what is best for them.

I also do not know of anywhere around here that still has trash cost based on how much your house is worth and in property taxes anymore, do you?

Again, you spport the status quo. I would still support the new proposed system IF we did not now have a real opportunity to get out of mandatory contracting, which was not a posibility until the past few weeks. I think we really have that chance now. Whenever I have a choice to pick a rather than being told, I'll pick choice.

Michael Pullinzi
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Well John, the City's you cite have a City transfer dump station available that Batavia does not have and there appears to have been many issues with violations of illegal dumping in Saratoga. Saratoga also appears to have a pay per bag system that also has had problems resulting in the necessity to hire additional staff to respond to the problems at the trasnfer station. If you make a list of how many City's have a collection system in New York State and those that don't you will see that it is overwhelming in the 95%+ or higher category that have a collection system. That is true for a reason as it is the progressive and recognized manner in which a responsbile City government should act. The "status quo" as you call it in Batavia is in fact superior to the plan you support that mandates totes (a far cry from your claim of your choosing free choice) and that is why I do support the present system that has worked and served the City and citizens well. The town of Batavia is obviously not a City and the population is a fraction of the City and is more spread out where trash issues are not likely to result in an immediate health hazard like a City where populations are very close and such issues are serious public health concerns. Hurray for WBTA today in calling for an end to consideration for the proposed changes! Let's hope City Council takes that cue and in the next year there can be some lengthy discussion and citizen input to develop a well thought out plan for any necessary changes that will best serve all. The current proposed plan appears to have much misinformation, inaccurate generalizations, and ulterior motives by a few that are equally misguided and not in the best interests of the City of Batavia or it's home owners.

Rich Richmond
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Michael,

It is commendable that you and John remain friends and/or allies on many subjects although you disagree on the issue of free choice.

I want the City of Batavia out of the trash collection business entirely.

I want free choice to contract directly in the free market.

I don’t want to subsidize any landlord’s business.

I don’t want anyone to subsidize me.

I understand why you as a landlord and a businessman want the City of Batavia to remain in the trash business; I understand this as do most people who want free choice.

I’d bet that Tim Horton’s or any business would be thrilled to have the same unfair taxpayer subsidized trash collection deal that Landlords have now; after all business is business and money is money; all business pay taxes, as do all residential property owners.

I understand that you might have to pay your fair share on your business investments if we go to a free choice system.

I understand how delaying and giving the ARC an extension and/or to have a study will keep money in your pocket.

Reality is not subjective. Reality; the current contract with ARC is soon to expire.

This is the perfect opportunity to remove the partisan politics and special interests completely out of the trash collection issue; it’s called free choice and individual freedom.

There is a very strong possibility City Council might decide to get completely out of the trash collection business. The refreshing winds of free choice may be soon blowing your way.

John Roach
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Michael,
I agree most places have a collection system. And most have only one private vendor. But none put the bill in property taxes based on the value of your home. The are set, equal fees, a system which you do not like. And I find none that charge businesses for a trash service they do not use. Do you know of any?

Now the Town of Tonawanda and the adjacent Village of Kenmore still have trash in the property taxes, but they use government DPW workers to pick up the trash, so it's not the same as here, and never was. I can not find any other locality that pays a private vendor from property taxes based on home value. Have you?

Michael Pullinzi
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Richard, I understand that you may pay less under the proposed plan with your inherited house. Since I assume your inherited house is for sale or will be, (unless you intend to live in two houses?) you will eventually have the one property. You try to misinform to divert from the issue to meet your own goals of trying to pay less yourself so most will pay more. If you think landlords pays less, I would strongly encourage you to become a landlord. I pay far far more than you do for trash service. There is no subsidy for landlords as you claim. If there was a self-hire system I would stand to save a bundle not pay more. I am willing to continue paying more because, unlike you, I recognize there is a public good for having a centralized trash system. No one on Council or the City Administration is supporting a multi-hire system as you support and for good reasons. Reality may not be pertinent to you, but it is to most. I am sure many businesses would choose to opt out of paying for most City services if given a choice. They would opt out of paying our school taxes, opt out of the skate arena, opt out of paying for parks, etc. etc. etc., but I think most clearly recognize that this is a selfish choice and that it is not an option and should not be. Free choice is NOT mandating totes as in this proposed system. The City is also not in the trash business as you claim. They contract and the hauler is in business. A centralized trash collection system is in the best interests of any City. Trash collection is not a utility it is a service and a vital service to any clustered population for health and safety concerns. You think you want to self-hire, until there are ten different haulers and some do a poor job or citizens do all not remove their trash and rats run rampant spreading disease and trash becomes an eye sore. Then you will complain, but it will be too late. Such short sightedness is exactly why public input, which was absent in this process, is sorely needed.

John Roach
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Michael,
I think Monday you may be surprised by how many council members are now considering a free choice/self hire system. And I am glad to hear you will save money with it. And you would still get to hire ARC with no changes except how you pay.

Rich Richmond
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Michael,

I don’t assume to know where your rental properties are located; you chose not to provide the locations, although it is a matter of public record.

I’ll not assume that you are familiar with the definition (SLUM LANDLORD) although the reality is many recruit their tenants from the welfare rolls; prospective tenants referred by Social Services with the rent subsidized by taxpayers.

The reality is many of the mentioned (SLUM LANDLORDS) frequently have the Police visit their rental properties (places of businesses) for domestic violence or drug busts.

I’ll not assume that you are a (SLUM LANDLORD) merely that you are a landlord.

You assume the worst in people, Michael; you paint them with a wide brush.

You assume that if given free choice, many businesses will opt out of paying our school taxes and/or opt out of the skate arena, opt out of paying for parks, etc. etc. etc; really? Did I leave anything out; are you including Landlords when you speak of businesses?

I realize that you are not a selfish Landlord-businessman, Michael. You are willing to pay more to get your way; you said so yourself.

Of course you pay more for trash collection on your parcels of businesses; please pat yourself on the back to make it Official.

You assume by giving people free choice, not an option in your unselfish reality for City Residents. We selfish people will not know how to handle it.

You assume that there will be ten different haulers....ten!

Wow, ten! The ten garbage haulers of the Apocalypse!

You assume people are too misinformed or selfish to make the right choice for themselves. We selfish individuals must ascribe to your version of reality.

We must keep the present system of trash collection otherwise in your alternate-reality; rats will become Legion to run rampant and spread disease and pestilence while mountains of trash will become an eyesore.

You assume that my motive is to pay less when that is not at all the case. I’m willing to pay more for free choice. At what price will you sell your liberty or individual freedom, Michael?

I don’t buy your version of the “PUBLIC GOOD” or how you want to go about accomplishing it.

The public good can be accomplished without the City of Batavia or City Council as an intermediary.

This is why I can’t comprehend why you are so dead set against free choice. You live outside of the City and have the free choice to contract with any independent hauler. What company do you use?

May I ask how much you pay to have your trash hauled away by the mentioned independent hauler or do you bring your trash into the City of Batavia and put it out on one of your rental properties?

I’ll not assume that you are for free choice unless it is the house in which you live.

Thomas Jefferson wrote; "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

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