Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2nd Question: Recycling Fee

(Don't forget to check out Sandra Guynn For Mayor for additional comments on these issues).

In today's paper, the candidates responses to this question were published:

City government may soon consider a $1.50 monthly charge on city households to support recycling, which has been a money-losing venture for the city. Would you favor such a fee, and why or why not?

Kathleen Z. Gessaman: What will citizens get for this monthly charge? Nothing different than now! Montana Waste Systems (MWS), a Montana, private, tax-paying company, provides a bin and curbside pickup twice a month for $2 per month. I support recycling but don't believe the city has adequately established its costs. Reported recycling costs may be inflated by other activities occurring at the Citizens Convenience Center. I don't think we should charge any fees until we can better identify the true costs of recycling to the city.

Robert G. Jones: If the city government is considering a $1.50 monthly charge to city households to help support recycling, I would want considerable discussion. I believe recycling is very important and a noble undertaking for the city, but we have other ventures that are losing money that need our attention. The golf courses and swimming pools have had considerable difficulty meeting operational needs and carry outstanding debt. The utility arm, Electric City Power, is also losing money and borrows from the city General Fund. I believe we need to set priorities and resolve present issues before asking the citizens for more money.

Rolland Leitheiser: A charge of $1.50 per month sounds very reasonable; I am not sure that this would be the end of the problems of recycling. As the economy worsens the cost of recycling will continue to increase. How many times do we go to the citizens and increase this fee to pay for recycling? I believe that the city should find a way to continue recycling without adding a monthly fee.

Ed McKnight: Recycling is an example of a community-oriented project and decision. A private recycling business operates in town at a profit. Before burdening the public with increases there should be a realistic assessment of why the city is unable to operate at a profit and alternatives should be examined.

John Rosenbaum: This is a two-part question to me. The first part of the question is if $1.50 is the amount needed to run the program and what is the program? Second, are we going to include the private sector in the program, so that we do not duplicate their program, and can we be more efficient and cost effective? We have yet to see a business plan or a complete proposal yet.

Donna Zook: Yes. I believe in recycling.

Fred Burow: Looks like we have another feel-good program that's losing money. There are several recycling businesses in the area. Scrap iron, aluminum cans, cardboard, hides, autos; all can be recycled. Presently, the cost of collecting bottles, plastic, newspapers, etc. is too much. Let the professional businesses handle recycling. If and when the price of recycling these items becomes profitable, the pros will collect them. It's time to think outside of the box. When you have people that are part of the current system or think that way, change is impossible. Someone outside the system can have different ideas.

Sandra Guynn: At this time, I do not favor the city continuing its involvement in recycling. First and foremost, cities have a responsibility to provide core services in a fiscally prudent manner. Providing recycling services is not a core service of the city. It has been reported from the Public Works Department that even by adding this proposed fee, recycling will continue to lose money. It is not fiscally responsible to continue to provide a secondary service that doesn't break even.

John Hubbard: Personally, I don't believe another charge would benefit our city. However, I do believe we need to support recycling and we should create an alternative method to do so.

Michael Winters: I believe recycling is an important and priority program. Before charging $1.50 per household the City Commission should first explore how communities of similar size in Montana are handling recycling, then devise a management program to educate and encourage participation. Let's put in place a program interesting enough that makes us want to be part of. Generally, it isn't the program that is failing and losing money, it is more often lack of interest. Let Great Falls become a leader in community action affairs.

Mike Witsoe: Yes, I would! Private enterprise or environmentally organized individuals who care about real recycling, yes. The present division of city government running garbage and recycling has no conception of recycling! New blood from the top down is the only way for the city of Great Falls to join the 21st century ideals on the environmental impact of our waste. Give the young, educated people who care a chance to show us how it works in Missoula, Bozeman, Helena and the rest of the West!

Bill Bronson: Yes, I support imposition of a nominal monthly fee to cover recycling costs. Based on information currently available from the Public Works Department, we can probably limit the costs to about $1 per month. This is a small price to pay for encouraging a responsible activity like recycling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting candidate answers Sandra!