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WBTA editorial calls for council to scuttle current trash plan and start over

By Howard B. Owens
Feb 22, 2013, 8:14am

Dan Fischer, owner and editorial director of WBTA, is broadcasting an editorial today that calls on the Batavia City Council to vote down a proposed ordinance to change how garbage is collected in the city.

The proposal has been contaminated by secrecy and heavy-handed tactics, Fischer says, so the process of deciding how garbage collection should be paid for and handled should start over.

Read the editorial by clicking here or listen to WBTA-AM today.

Dave Olsen

Sounds to me like he has it about right, except the city should just drop it all together and get away from the garbage business. I may not live in the city, but I will advocate for freedom, including freedom of choice, everywhere.

Feb 22, 2013, 9:54am Permalink
david spaulding

what is everybody so afraid of? they are talking about garbage disposal important issues going on in batavia?

i have one for you.....5.4 million dollar communication upgrade to your 5 year old 3.4 million dollar sheriff station.....anyone care about that?

Feb 22, 2013, 12:51pm Permalink
Kyle Couchman

Wrong forum David... This is about a city issue of garbage disposal. And the sheriff's communication system upgrade is being funded by a grant from Homeland Security. So what does one have to do with the other?

Feb 22, 2013, 2:07pm Permalink
Bob Heininger

Wax disingenuous much do you David? That $5.4 million plus is for an entire new communication network built from the ground up for the entire County of Genesee, not just the Sheriff station in Batavia.

The main issue here is Government attempting to underhandedly force its will on the public by purposefully setting up barriers to prevent the public from having any say in the matter.

If you're not concerned about the continual erosion of your rights, you should be.

Feb 22, 2013, 2:25pm Permalink
carol grasso

Thank you Dan. Well said but unfortunately we are dealing with a bunch of untruthful people. The city manager and the lawyer are two of a kind. One shits and the other wipes! I only wish we would have had the whole 6mos. of knowing about this I'm sure the out come would have been alot different. We unfortunately didn't have the same advantage as they did because of the time limit. I want to know after he passes this thing what is he going to do with the 1,000 people who aren't going to do what he tells us to do. We don't have enough jail space for all of us. Then he will have to rebut their votes because it's time for a revolution anyway. I for one am willing to go to jail for this ridiulous thing. Thanks again maybe you can interview me from jail!!!

Feb 24, 2013, 2:51am Permalink
John Roach

What will you do if you are told you can still have ARC, but pay them direct?
That is what you better plan on doing. This mandatory tote thing is going to be voted down, watch. But will you support the right of everyone to pick their own disposal company? You hire who is best for you and we pick who is best for us?

Feb 24, 2013, 6:38am Permalink
Kyle Couchman

Christian told me flat out last night on the phone.... If this doesnt pass then everyone will have to get their own trash removal, period. Seems to me people like Carol are very correct in their anger and outrage. Let me relate a little revelation I came to last night.

In speakig with Christian on the phone last night I noticed something, our councilors seem to be hiding behind the apathy of the average citizen. They say things like there 15,000 people in this city I only got calls/letters/emails/ from 17, or 1000 or 150 people. But the interesting contrast is, they make comments like.

“The citizens of Batavia, and in particular our wards, voted us into office with the notion that we were good and intelligent people and could do what was best for the city,” he said. “If every major decision was put to a city vote it would be costly and take an elongated amount of time which sometimes cannot be spared. An idea was presented to council and we were given a number of facts to look at and we all agreed it was a good thing to pursue.”

That was directly quoted from Councilman Cipollone, now if these council members told us citizens thing like that when campaigning for their position how many would have voted for them? As an average citizen this comment says to me that I shouldnt bother to come and comment as they know better than we do and will do as they see fit. I dont wonder why most people dont bother to let them know how they feel on these issues.

Also this seems to clash with the very mission statement Here is a portion from the City Council's own Mission Statement.

PRINCIPLES: The City of Batavia expects and encourages its leaders and employees to be guided by the following principles:

*balance short-term needs with long-term vision for what is in the best interests of residents;

*commit to making Batavia the best place in New York State to live and work, and to leave a legacy of a better quality of life in Batavia for our children;

*focus on continuous improvement in meeting the needs of our customers;

*take well-reasoned risks in deciding how best to deliver high quality, cost effective services;

My question? Have they been innovative? Have they been cooperative with anyone on this issue?

My question to this? Have they shown mutual respect or worked as a team with the citizenry of this city?

Have they shown any responsiveness or accountability in this issue with all the secrecy and warnings that supercede our 1st amendment rights of free speech

Just the constant changing of the data and the very short time this has been thrusted onto the citizens and the rush to make changes shows a lack of integrity and questionable ethics.

Adherence to these principles will:

Create an atmosphere in which citizens feel safe, secure, and confident in City governmental operations;
Promote a positive public image;
Provide for procedural controls over City resources;
Provide information to support decisions.

Take note of the last three principals they SAY they follow....

Now as they have stated adherence to the principals will have the results listed above. Do you feel well informed on this garbage contract issue. Are you confident or secure in the way the City Council and the City Manager have handled this operation. And has it provided a positive public image?

I havent commented much on the ARC aspect of this but I heard this somewhere and it bears repeating. Everyone in the City Govt encourages us to choose to buy/spend locally to encourage local economic growth and keep finances local. But this decision to go with a non local company and remove from work local laborers who dont HAVE to work because of their handicaps, but CHOOSE to do so. Doesn't that contradict the very message they deliver to us? Why should we sacrifice conveninece or spend more money supporting local economics if the very people asking us to not only cant make that same sacrifice but seem to steam roll over the citizenry in a rush to get their own agenda fufilled.

Feb 24, 2013, 12:11pm Permalink
John Roach

At least if this is voted down, we might get the chance to hire who we want, including giving ARC your business. Whenever it is possible and feasible, you deciding who gets you money is always best.

Feb 24, 2013, 12:24pm Permalink
Mark Potwora

Kyle what is the price to keeping it local..Is It a bid that is 1 million higher than the lowest bid .Is that the price..ARC should also bear some blame for coming in with such a high bid..They have the advantage in being a non profit over the other companies..They pay lower wages .They pay no property tax..This is not about the people who are picking up the trash.This is about their management not being able to run a trash disposal service..The anger against the city council and Mr.Malino should be also directed at ARC management for losing this bid........

Feb 24, 2013, 12:51pm Permalink
Kyle Couchman

John, yep I almost laughed at Rosemary as that seems to be a viable and appealing solution to most if my impressions are correct. LOL

Mark, Let me hit these as my understanding permits... 1) ARC's bid was higher yes....because the decison to go to a tote system was suddenly foisted on them with little notice and to get the trucks to cover that is expensive to purchase, and even more so to subcontract out til they get their own trucks. As for the lower wages I know personally one of those people trhu my wife that is currently on those ARC trucks, he gets 9.00 an hour. not great mind you but it's not a lower wage compared to the other NON union jobs on the same position on trucks. As for the amount this is a 5 yr contract, 1,000,000 over five years works out to 200,000 a year. From what I have read this Allied company underbid contracts and ends up charging more every year to it's customers. I dont deal with these types of contracts but I do know a bid doesnt always equal actual cost.

In watching this it seems that Mr. Malino hasn been very forthcoming. He claimed that ACR did not respond to his requests, but later we found out that through a State Org they did and he found it unsatisfactory, then ARC met with him in person to also discuss it before he come out to the news that they didnt respond. Thats very disengenuous. Then we find out that ARC had been discussing this with the city since May 2012. But at the City (Mr Molino's request) kept it secret. That is suspect as well. The when Tom began a very interesting dialogue with Jason's office numbers started changing all over the place, average homes assesment, then epa studies on trash generation get thrown in and so on. The back and forth has shown the city not being very clear or direct with much of what they are sayin. Business as usual right? The trigger for me however was the last meeting Mr. VanNest's instructions at a public meeting to coomentors was over the line. Let me explain why I think this. The first amendment which as part of the Constitution which is supposed to be the supreme law of the US says...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now VanNest addressed the public at the gathering and said as reported...City Attorney George Van Nest quietly gave a disclaimer of what they could or could not say since council has not yet approved the contract with new vendor Allied Waste Services. “Any oral, written or electronic communication with a governmental entity under circumstances where a reasonable person would infer that the communication was intended to influence the government entity’s conduct or decision regarding the government procurement is not permissible,” Van Nest warned he indicated this was “pursuant to the State Finance Law"

Now you and I are both resonable adults, does that statment not violate the 1st Amendment especially the part that says "or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." That right there was what put my passion into this fight, actively defying the 1st amendment to limit the public comment? State finance law doesnt supercede The Constitution does it? This plus the council minimalizing the public's opinion using generalizations that "Not everyone feels this way" Yet around town and in my circles I havent found one person, landlord, tenant or even neighbor that hasnt been a little ticked off or very confused bout this change, because "Everything seemd to be fine for the last few decades with the trash system" So I guess I dont understand your comments Mark....ARC is a part of this but not the end all and be all so we shouldnt throw the baby out w the bathwater.

Feb 24, 2013, 1:45pm Permalink
John Roach

I think city attorney has to go. Even if he was right about that law, it did not have to applied. There was no harm in what anyone was saying and it was clear who they supported. To me, it was a very stupid decision.

Feb 24, 2013, 2:04pm Permalink
carol grasso

yes John I will stay with ARC.I don't care if I pay more at least my money stays right here! They have done a great job for me for many years. The city needs to remone Molino, and VanNest. That would save lots of money. Why do we need them anyway council seems to know all the answers so why do we need a big shot up front? I can't believe the council thinks they have all the say without us. Guess they didn't read the guide lines when they took the job. I tought they were to listen to the people. I have never been asked by any of my council people what I think about anything in 30yrs living here. What a bunch of shit this whole thing is turning out to be!! I can't wait to get out of this crazy city. Any one out there want to buy my house? It's up for sale for the right price!!

Feb 24, 2013, 3:27pm Permalink
Bob Heininger

If City Council approves these changes all is not lost. The decision can be appealed by filing an Article 78 Proceeding with the New York State Supreme Court. Caveats, Article 78 Proceedings have a very short statute of limitation, and they can be costly.

And City Management is fully aware of all of this.

If anyone has ever wondered why the City Attorney is balls deep in almost everything that goes on around here, there you have it.

Feb 24, 2013, 7:13pm Permalink

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