Options for trash pickup
Published 3:39 pm Friday, February 6, 2009
The City Council reportedly saw two options regarding trash pickup: reduce service or raise rates.
I did not attend the public hearings but did provide my opinion that there are ways to control cost and maintain service level as follows:
• Higher than budgeted fuel expense hit the solid waste fund. Take into account that this special situation is now significantly abated.
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• Provide the transfer station planned but never provided—a measure to reduce cost when the county’s new landfill opened.
• Manage the balance sheet rather than just the cash flow in this one fund. Use operating reserves carefully to level out some unexpected events like fuel price spikes.
• Set and maintain a target range for reserves. Make these balance sheet assets more visible to the Council and visible to the public. Too little reserves increases cost, limits opportunity, and puts the city and taxpayers at risk; too much invites too-easy spending and says we took money from taxpayers and parked it.
Doing these things might save us from half service at full price.
Rolfe Hunt served on the Bainbridge City Council from 1998-2009.