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View Full Version : City mandated vs. free market trash collection


Hampshire
08-02-2011, 10:28 AM
Ever since I moved into my home 9 years ago we have had a type of free market trash collection system. Four to five various trash companies you can pick from and they all compete with eachother to give you the best "deal" but they all end up costing about the same. I always thought the system was lame but never thought much about it.
Well, the city has started to push the issue again and has a nice list of reasons why a single provider would be best:
-The various companies would bid for the contract with the city and we'd probably get rates about 1/2 of what we're now paying.
-Less traffic on trash days with only one companies trucks on the streets= safer residential streets, less wear/tear on roads, less noise/exhaust.
Seems like a slam dunk to me. But the city says they're getting a lot of resistance on the issue from residents who the city telling them who they have to use and claiming being locked into one provider means they can become lax on service.

They're going to have a couple of open public forums to discuss this and I'd like to push for the one provider route.
Anyone see any horrible reason to go to the city mandated direction or have horror stories about it?

Peremensoe
08-02-2011, 10:40 AM
I'd cut the city into several sanitation districts (based on topography and road geometry) and award a single, time-limited contract for each of those. That way you can still have multiple providers and competition on both service and pricing, but only one company working any given block in any given week.

John Mace
08-02-2011, 11:00 AM
We used to have great service from a single provider. We switched providers a few years ago, and now it sucks. They make us put the containers in the street, then they come by and plop them back in the street, except not near the curb. On trash day, you have to drive an obstacle course through the residential areas, avoiding trash containers out in the middle of the road (or near the middle). And they often leave the lids open, so when it's raining, you come home to a garbage container with a bunch of water in it. Empty it out, and there's always some residual nastiness that comes out with the water.

So I guess it can be good or bad, depending on the provider. :)

Cheesesteak
08-02-2011, 11:07 AM
There's no way around the conclusion that a single trash collector is going to be more efficient than what you have now. You can have 4-5 trucks going down your block to pick up all the trash, instead of 1 truck.

Frankly, either the city gets a deal that is a lower price than your current payment, or they don't, it'll be pretty obvious if trash service winds up costing more. In terms of being lax on service, the provider has an incentive to maintain a decent level of service, because they don't want to lose the city contract. That can be more incentive than the threat of losing an individual customer.

Downside is that if there are differences between the different providers, you can't choose the one that best fits your personal needs.

brickbacon
08-02-2011, 11:46 AM
You can suggest that they insert a yearly review termination clause based on an independent no-confidence vote.

Really Not All That Bright
08-02-2011, 11:52 AM
I'd cut the city into several sanitation districts (based on topography and road geometry) and award a single, time-limited contract for each of those. That way you can still have multiple providers and competition on both service and pricing, but only one company working any given block in any given week.
This. Nothing wrong with an enforced monopoly when the benefits are obvious (ie., not having three different trucks collecting from three neigboring houses).

thelabdude
08-02-2011, 12:37 PM
As you would expect, service is much more resident friendly when with a couple of phone calls, you can have a different provider.

You can't fight city hall. If dissatisified with my service, I don't have to.

Just what is in it for the city to have one provider? Is it really wear and tear on the streets or more power to the fief of the fiefdom?

Tastes of Chocolate
08-02-2011, 12:43 PM
There's no way around the conclusion that a single trash collector is going to be more efficient than what you have now. You can have 4-5 trucks going down your block to pick up all the trash, instead of 1 truck.

I wish it were 4-5 trucks a week. We have 6 companies that service our area. All pickups are on Tuesdays. All of them provide weekly garbage pickup. All of them provide every other week recycling pickup. 4 of them provide weekly yardwaste pickup, in the summer.

So on the recycling weeks in the summer, we have 14 garbage trucks going first one way up the street and then 14 going down it, to get the other side.

Great Antibob
08-02-2011, 12:50 PM
So I guess it can be good or bad, depending on the provider. :)

Definitely.

I'm in one of the Houston suburbs, and our city contracted trash service works fine. And this is in one of the most conservative, free-market districts you'll find.

On the other hand, in the next town over, the city contracted service is not so good in many places. Their mayor and council are known to be tools that favor certain neighborhoods over others.

It depends on how much you trust your city council/mayor/whatever to get you a good deal and enforce good service.

Hampshire
08-02-2011, 12:54 PM
Just what is in it for the city to have one provider? Is it really wear and tear on the streets or more power to the fief of the fiefdom?

I think so. We don't have a lot of heavy vehicles running up and down our streets every day except trash day, and those garbage trucks do look damn heavy. I'd like to think decreasing the amount by 5x would help.
Noise and safety was also a biggie. 5 companies diesel trucks zipping around the neighborhood all morning and afternoon is a minor annoyance. Doesn't make it very safe for the kids to bike around the neighborhood.
And apparently price is a biggie. I've heard from other cities around us that have the mandated provider and they pay a fraction of what we do.
It's be nice if the city played a limited role in it as in all they'd do is take and award bids on an annual basis. Billing and complaints I'd think should still go through the provider.

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 01:33 PM
I live in a city where the trash hauling is on a free market basis. During the past year, our city council thought it might be wise to consider going to a city wide contractor. The local paper got involved and polled various people around the city in various neighborhoods on their current cost for trash pick-up. It turned out that approximately a third of the city's residents (including myself) were already paying less than the amounts that the city council were in discussions with various contractors. Fortunately there was so much dissension among voters, that the council quashed the issue, much to the chagrin of several contractors.

Here are several reasons why it's a bad idea
- Lack of competition
- Lack of incentive to serve the individual customers
- Cost of oversight administration within the city government (one less thing the government needs to be involved in)
- Long term contracts, that the indiviual citizens have no say so in.
- No variable of service for individual customers needs, one size fits all

Cheesesteak
08-02-2011, 01:49 PM
It turned out that approximately a third of the city's residents (including myself) were already paying less than the amounts that the city council were in discussions with various contractors. Fortunately there was so much dissension among voters, that the council quashed the issue, much to the chagrin of several contractors.I also imagine, to the chagrin of 2/3rds of the city's residents who are paying more than the amount the council was negotiating.

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 01:52 PM
I also imagine, to the chagrin of 2/3rds of the city's residents who are paying more than the amount the council was negotiating.

They should go and negotiate with their current provider on their own. Clearly there's a market for lower costs trash providers in the city. If I can find milk cheaper than you can, do you need your local government to do your negotiating or shopping for you?

Odesio
08-02-2011, 01:54 PM
I've only lived in one place my entire life where the city wasn't involved in trash pickup and that's because I lived in a rural area. How large are these cities with 3 or more companies doing trash pickup?

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 01:55 PM
I've only lived in one place my entire life where the city wasn't involved in trash pickup and that's because I lived in a rural area. How large are these cities with 3 or more companies doing trash pickup?

My town is over a half million population.

Cheesesteak
08-02-2011, 02:04 PM
If I can find milk cheaper than you can, do you need your local government to do your negotiating or shopping for you?If every single resident of the town was legally required to buy a gallon of milk a week, in order to ensure the health and sanitation of the town, I would not consider it odd for the government to play a role in milk pricing & delivery.

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 02:11 PM
If every single resident of the town was legally required to buy a gallon of milk a week, in order to ensure the health and sanitation of the town, I would not consider it odd for the government to play a role in milk pricing & delivery.

I guess that's the difference between you and me. I don't feel that we need to pay the government to get involved in commercial negotiations.

Besides, not every resident is required to go out and obtain trash service. Only those that live in single family homes. Living in a single family home is not a requirement.

Hampshire
08-02-2011, 02:19 PM
i've only lived in one place my entire life where the city wasn't involved in trash pickup and that's because i lived in a rural area. How large are these cities with 3 or more companies doing trash pickup?

75,000

Jas09
08-02-2011, 02:24 PM
I guess that's the difference between you and me. I don't feel that we need to pay the government to get involved in commercial negotiations.Surely you concede that some things constitute a natural monopoly, and that government regulations of them are in the public interest?

We can discuss whether trash service falls under that umbrella, but things like power, water, and sewer service certainly do, right?

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 02:28 PM
Surely you concede that some things constitute a natural monopoly, and that government regulations of them are in the public interest?

We can discuss whether trash service falls under that umbrella, but things like power, water, and sewer service certainly do, right?

Power, no. There are many markets in the US that have free market power supply (for residential natural gas and electricity).

Water and Sewer yes.

Trash service shouldn't even come close. There's little barrier to entry, start-up costs are minimal. etc. No need for a monopoly for trash service.

Cheesesteak
08-02-2011, 02:49 PM
Besides, not every resident is required to go out and obtain trash service. Only those that live in single family homes. Living in a single family home is not a requirement.Wow, I imagine your apartment buildings and commercial spaces are rat infested trash piles by now.

Kidding aside, every resident and business has to have a way of getting rid of their trash, whether they pay for it directly, or through their rent, they're paying for trash service.

It is also trivial to see that trash service can be more efficiently delivered if 1 truck comes by per week instead of 5 or 6 coming by to service the exact same area. Government enforced monopolies can work when there is efficiency to be gained by having one provider, and those efficiencies get passed down to the end customer.

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 02:54 PM
It is also trivial to see that trash service can be more efficiently delivered if 1 truck comes by per week instead of 5 or 6 coming by to service the exact same area. Government enforced monopolies can work when there is efficiency to be gained by having one provider, and those efficiencies get passed down to the end customer.

In a perfect utopian environment where other incentives didn't make their way into the system, your proposal might be more efficient. The problem is more likely is that the labor force of the contracted provider doesn't give a shit about customer service because his employer has a 5 year contract. The city then has to have a full time staff and department to manage the contractor, which was a cost that the city did not have to have before. The benefits of reduced # of trucks driving around doesn't outweigh all of the negative in my opinion.

Tastes of Chocolate
08-02-2011, 02:55 PM
Trash service shouldn't even come close. There's little barrier to entry, start-up costs are minimal. etc. No need for a monopoly for trash service.

Really? How much of the cost of garbage pickup do you think comes down to fuel prices and wages? I don't know the answer, but I'm guessing it's quite a bit.

So say there are 50 houses on my street. How much does it cost a company to come in and pick up all of them vs. 1/5 of them? Fuel costs and costs due to miles driven will be almost exactly the same. It will take maybe twice as long to drive the route, because of extra stops, but the drive to and from the street will take exactly the same length of time, so labor costs won't be nearly 5x.

I like the idea of awarding a city in zones, and each year, the bottom supplier, in terms of high cost and low customer satisfaction gets to renegotiate and reform, or they are out of the running.

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 03:00 PM
I like the idea of awarding a city in zones, and each year, the bottom supplier, in terms of high cost and low customer satisfaction gets to renegotiate and reform, or they are out of the running.

Why not just pick who you like and let your neighbor pick who he likes?

Jas09
08-02-2011, 03:10 PM
Well, one possible reason is because now you are both paying more than you otherwise would. Another is that now I have to deal with his truck's noise, pollution, and road damage and he has to deal with mine. I'm sure there are other reasons.

I'm not saying either system is universally better, but if a community comes together and decides to implement a community-wide contract I see no problem with it.

kunilou
08-02-2011, 03:13 PM
The suburban community next to me changed in the last year or so from letting residents contract their own trash collection to using a single contractor for the entire town. I have no idea what the average cost of service was for the open choice compared to the single contract.

The issues which led to the decision included too many trucks on the street, lack of accountability when curbs and lawns were damaged, some contractors picking up before or after approved hours and not knowing who to blame when loose trash was spilled on srtreets.

I should mention that the townspeople range from pretty well off to flat-out rich, and the town as a whole consistently votes conservative Republican, so I'm guessing they're acquainted with the concept of a regulated monopoly vs. free-market competition.

boytyperanma
08-02-2011, 03:18 PM
Power, no. There are many markets in the US that have free market power supply (for residential natural gas and electricity).

Water and Sewer yes.

Trash service shouldn't even come close. There's little barrier to entry, start-up costs are minimal. etc. No need for a monopoly for trash service.

Wait really? Can you name a city anywhere in the country where electricity isn't regulated?

Electricity in the US is highly regulated.

Same goes for natural gas.

Cheesesteak
08-02-2011, 03:26 PM
In a perfect utopian environment where other incentives didn't make their way into the system, your proposal might be more efficient. The problem is more likely is that the labor force of the contracted provider doesn't give a shit about customer service because his employer has a 5 year contract. The city then has to have a full time staff and department to manage the contractor, which was a cost that the city did not have to have before. The benefits of reduced # of trucks driving around doesn't outweigh all of the negative in my opinion.You don't need a perfect utopian environment to get benefits. You establish a standard of service, and include that standard in your contract. You do not lock yourself into a long term contract that has no service level requirements. You also do not need a full time staff to manage one contract with one supplier for one service.

You actually don't reduce the number of trucks, but each truck gets to pick up all the trash it drives by, instead of skipping over 75% of the trash for the other 3 trucks to pick up. Trucks drive 4x as far to pick up the same garbage, it takes probably 2x as long to pick up the garbage. More time, more gas, more wear and tear on the trucks, more labor, same garbage.

smiling bandit
08-02-2011, 03:40 PM
Wait really? Can you name a city anywhere in the country where electricity isn't regulated?

Electricity in the US is highly regulated.

Not true. Considerable sections of the United States are electricity deregulated, including Texas, Illinois, and much of the northeast. They don't have any particualr trouble with it.

California did, but that was because they (in true California fashion) eagerly threw themselves into deregulation, only to run away in fear halfway through. This left with with a combination of overregulation and underregulation which was easily manipulated by Enron.

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 03:40 PM
You actually don't reduce the number of trucks, but each truck gets to pick up all the trash it drives by, instead of skipping over 75% of the trash for the other 3 trucks to pick up. Trucks drive 4x as far to pick up the same garbage, it takes probably 2x as long to pick up the garbage. More time, more gas, more wear and tear on the trucks, more labor, same garbage.

Sounds like a good business model for a private trash hauling service. Lower the cost and claim more market share. Drive the marginal trash hauler out of business.

Don't need the government to get involved.

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 03:42 PM
Wait really? Can you name a city anywhere in the country where electricity isn't regulated?

Electricity in the US is highly regulated.

Same goes for natural gas.

Not true. Considerable sections of the United States are electricity deregulated, including Texas, Illinois, and much of the northeast. They don't have any particualr trouble with it.

California did, but that was because they (in true California fashion) eagerly threw themselves into deregulation, only to run away in fear halfway through. This left with with a combination of overregulation and underregulation which was easily manipulated by Enron.

smiling bandit is correct. Do a little research and you will find several markets in the US where people have numerous choices from whom they want to buy their power from.

boytyperanma
08-02-2011, 03:52 PM
smiling bandit is correct. Do a little research and you will find several markets in the US where people have numerous choices from whom they want to buy their power from.

Maybe you should consider a little research on your own part. Many places in the US you can choose between government regulated providers. No city in the US has unregulated providers. Electricity is not a free market. As electricity is regulated at the Federal, state, and local level finding a city without regulated electricity would be impossible, unless of course you find a place off the grid.

You're welcome to keep plugging your ears and pretending the free market gets power to your house.

Cheesesteak
08-02-2011, 03:58 PM
Sounds like a good business model for a private trash hauling service. Lower the cost and claim more market share. Drive the marginal trash hauler out of business.And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those those pesky kids (and low barriers to entry, minimal startup costs and antitrust laws)

Omar Little
08-02-2011, 04:12 PM
Maybe you should consider a little research on your own part. Many places in the US you can choose between government regulated providers. No city in the US has unregulated providers. Electricity is not a free market. As electricity is regulated at the Federal, state, and local level finding a city without regulated electricity would be impossible, unless of course you find a place off the grid.

You're welcome to keep plugging your ears and pretending the free market gets power to your house.

This is definitely one of the things that I hate about this fucking board. People love to put words in other poster's posts.

I never said anything about unregulated power providers. J

- Jas09 said that there was a need for government controlled monopolies such as water, sewer and power.
- I said that for power no, there were many places in the US were there was free market power supply...i.e. meaning that there were not government controlled monopolies suppling electricity to the community. Many free market industries are regulated.
- Then you popped in and said name me one city where power isn't regulated.

We assumed that you meant government controlled monopolies...because that's what we were talking about. Now if you want to shift the discussion away from monopolies to environmental regulations or whatever, then do so, but don't hijack the discussion...please.

yorick73
08-02-2011, 04:17 PM
I wonder if a city that chooses one company may cause the other companies to go out of business....or at least make any competition less likely when the contract expires. I assume there are not a lot of trash companies in a city sitting idle waiting for a contract to expire.

I've noticed many HOA's make deals with a particular company to provide trash pick-up at a reduced rate if a high enough percentage of the residents agree to it. This seems like the equivalent of awarding sectors of the city to different companies.

boytyperanma
08-02-2011, 04:31 PM
In MA each city used to negotiate and provide trash services for their residents. As town budgets got cut more and more of the smaller towns cut trash services out. Most smaller towns leave residents to fend for themselves with private contractors.

The end result is people pay more for less service and improper disposals increase.

When a private companies negotiate contracts individually with each person needing service they have huge leverage over those people in terms of knowledge and cost. I suppose if each person could hire a lawyer specialized in sanitation services to read over the contracts and demand they include all of the customers potential needs, that might be different, but as it stand an individual will never

What happens is the companies choose to provide only the most profitable services, generally curb side pick up, and either charge huge fees for other services or don't provide them at all, appliances, furniture, chemicals etc.

Larger cities in MA still provide all needed services in a simplified manner easily understood by the populace. Things like simply call in for an appliance pick up or chemical disposal day. This leads to things getting taken care of in safe reliable manners.

In towns that don't provide these services residents not able to afford the fees or simply left with no local option to handle them you'll find more instances of refrigerators and paint cans left on the sides of the road.

I tend to favor more government regulation in sanitation because I prefer a healthier cleaner environment. I'd rather the government offer solutions for disposals rather than forcing the police investigate and prosecute those that where unable to find solutions on their own.

Pai325
08-02-2011, 10:48 PM
I've only lived in one place my entire life where the city wasn't involved in trash pickup and that's because I lived in a rural area. How large are these cities with 3 or more companies doing trash pickup?

My town has three companies and about 10,000 residents. I live in central Illinois.

Kyrie Eleison
08-02-2011, 10:54 PM
I've only lived in one place my entire life where the city wasn't involved in trash pickup and that's because I lived in a rural area. How large are these cities with 3 or more companies doing trash pickup?
9,000 here. Northeastern US legacy town, not rural at all.

t-bonham@scc.net
08-03-2011, 12:32 AM
I'd cut the city into several sanitation districts (based on topography and road geometry) and award a single, time-limited contract for each of those. That way you can still have multiple providers and competition on both service and pricing, but only one company working any given block in any given week.That's how it's done here in Minneapolis. In fact, even more competition: besides various private companies bidding, there are city-owned trucks driven by public employees who also compete with bids on districts.

Currently, I think the city employees have won about half the districts, a consortium of various garbage haulers has about 40%, and the remaining 10% is independent haulers.

The city provides garbage carts (standardized, designed for automated dumping), and handles all the billing (comes with your water bill) customer service, and requests for special item pickups. There is a base price, with discounts for people who recycle, and one for using a smaller cart.

The other Twin City, St. Paul, is right across the river, and it has no central system. Each resident has to negotiate a contract with one of the many garbage haulers, obtain carts from them, and make payment arrangements with them.

Most of my friends from St. Paul pay a higher price than I do.
They also report problems that I don't have (required long-term contracts, constantly rising prices, and frequent 'extra' charges (for yard waste, special items like mattresses or old appliances, charges for Christmas trees, etc.) -- almost sounds like they were dealing with a cell phone company!

Great Antibob
08-03-2011, 01:04 AM
Not true. Considerable sections of the United States are electricity deregulated, including Texas, Illinois, and much of the northeast.

For a given value of "deregulation".

Texas has deregulated parts of the market. So, we all deal with purchasing electricity from a provider but the actual juice is carried by a local monopoly (Centerpoint, in the case of Houston). So, if you lose power, you don't call your provider but Centerpoint (or whoever the local company is). And since you're not directly a Centerpoint customer, there's not as much incentive to make sure you're satisfied with service.

It's also not the free market dream it's made out to be. While current prices are pretty good (due to low natural gas prices), before that our prices shot up to well over twice what they were before deregulation in under 5 years. It's not that deregulation was necessarily bad, but it was poorly implemented and gave perverse incentives to energy companies not to compete on price.

Like I noted earlier, I'm in one of the more conservative, free-market type areas in the country, but you'll still find considerable support for going back to the old electricity model, if only because the supposed pricing benefits of deregulation never really materialized.

even sven
08-03-2011, 02:20 AM
When five trucks are lumbering down the same street, who do you think pays for them? One way or another, you are paying for the four trucks you do not use.

Broomstick
08-03-2011, 05:58 AM
Water and Sewer yes.
Really? You really feel that there HAS to be government involvement in water and sewer? In my area we're all wells and septic, that is private water and sewer, so it certainly can be done.

Of course, we DO have rules limiting what companies can put in the ground so they don't screw up everyone's water wells - oh, the horror! Shackling private enterprise for the overall benefit of the community!

Of course, where the government runs the water and sewer they often have the exact same rules.

Trash service shouldn't even come close. There's little barrier to entry, start-up costs are minimal. etc. No need for a monopoly for trash service.
My area has your trash service ideal - all free enterprise. Except a couple of the companies have gone out of business in recent years, and we're down to two. Then we have the people who have lost their jobs and can no longer afford to pay for trash service. Sure, they usually get foreclosed on or evicted within a few months (because even those who rent houses around here have to hire trash removal - it's not automatic the landlord will do it for you unless it's a multi-unit building) but during those months their trash isn't picked up, so when they're finally booted out there are small mountains of garbage in the backyard, or even sometime the front yard. Yeah, yeah, that works really well. And of course, it just sits there forever because it's no one's responsibility. There is no mechanism for the local government to go in and clean it up, no one owns the place anymore (usually - in the case of rentals the landlord cleans it up but for private foreclosures no one does) and the neighbors get to enjoy the stench of rotting garbage. No, the neighbors either can't afford a clean up either, or, because they aren't the owners, they have no authority to clean up the mess. The trash companies only deal with the property owners or a legal tenant, they won't clean up an abandoned lot under the auspices of the neighbors.

Odesio
08-03-2011, 06:25 AM
Really? You really feel that there HAS to be government involvement in water and sewer? In my area we're all wells and septic, that is private water and sewer, so it certainly can be done.


For most major municipalities, septic tanks and well water just aren't going to be adequate to meet the needs of the population. Supplying New York, Southern California and Dallas with water means large public works programs and that usually means the government. Even in places where wells are common there is often government regulation. For example, in rural Colorado you are limited in how much water your well can pump on a daily basis and what you use it for.

Acsenray
08-03-2011, 06:50 AM
The city provides garbage carts (standardized, designed for automated dumping), and handles all the billing (comes with your water bill) customer service, and requests for special item pickups. There is a base price, with discounts for people who recycle, and one for using a smaller cart.


Garbage carts? That's a new one on me. I've never encountered that term for garbage cans or containers or bins or receptacles.

Broomstick
08-03-2011, 06:58 AM
For most major municipalities, septic tanks and well water just aren't going to be adequate to meet the needs of the population. Supplying New York, Southern California and Dallas with water means large public works programs and that usually means the government. Even in places where wells are common there is often government regulation. For example, in rural Colorado you are limited in how much water your well can pump on a daily basis and what you use it for.
Ah, but he said "of course" for water and sewer as if it could never be done on a private level, not qualifying "rural" vs. "urban". Which was sort of my point - there are places where it could be done (though arguably government might be better).

Cheesesteak
08-03-2011, 07:29 AM
For a given value of "deregulation". Electricity and Gas "free market" is like having 1 garbage truck going down the street, but under contract with 5 other companies to pick up the trash from their customers too. Your local government approved monopoly is still delivering the product.

kunilou
08-03-2011, 09:58 AM
Has anybody looked over in GQ to learn about Broomstick's difficulties (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=618657)in trying to pay someone to get rid of his mattresses?

t-bonham@scc.net
08-03-2011, 12:33 PM
Has anybody looked over in GQ to learn about Broomstick's difficulties (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=618657)in trying to pay someone to get rid of his mattresses?Yes, this reminded me of that. I find it hard to understand his situation.

Here in Minneapolis, we would just put the mattress next to the garbage cart, marked "For Garbage", and the City would dispose of it (a limit of 2 such large items per week).

t-bonham@scc.net
08-03-2011, 12:40 PM
Garbage carts? That's a new one on me. I've never encountered that term for garbage cans or containers or bins or receptacles.Because they are carts -- large heavy-duty plastic containers, on wheels, with an attached cover. Like this. (http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/solid-waste/images/container-rental-special-1.gif) They are designed to be picked up & dumped automatically by a hydraulic lifter at the back of the truck. The city nearly covered the purchase costs of these containers, between the reduced medical expense for back injuries to workers, and faster collection of garbage.

Acsenray
08-03-2011, 01:08 PM
Because they are carts -- large heavy-duty plastic containers, on wheels, with an attached cover. Like this. (http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/solid-waste/images/container-rental-special-1.gif)

Yes, that's exactly what they look like here too, but as I said I've never heard the term "carts" in this context.

RetroVertigo
08-03-2011, 01:08 PM
We actually have a city-run sanitation department, and I love it. Its cheaper then the commercial companies, and they actually do a good job (not leaving trash bins in the street, picking them up if they fall over, and the trucks are kept relatively clean). Also because of a recent development park that was developed and sold by the city they gave all residence half-off the service for two years.

Disadvantages to the service do exist. There are only four times a year that they will pick-up bulk items. I would think a commercial outfit would let you schedule as the need arises. It is a big hassle to get a replacement bin, as I found out last year when some neighborhood toughs took ours for a stroll. I needed to file a police report, and only then would they replace it. It wound up being easier to just drive around the subdivision looking for it.

Odesio
08-03-2011, 01:42 PM
Ah, but he said "of course" for water and sewer as if it could never be done on a private level, not qualifying "rural" vs. "urban". Which was sort of my point - there are places where it could be done (though arguably government might be better).

I think you're just picking nits at this point to give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back for your "got'cha" moment. The majority of us Americans live in urban areas not rural ones. Also, depending on the state, I would hazard a guess that most people living in rural areas actually get their water from a government source be it the county or a nearby municipality (but, hey, I could be wrong about that). You're technically correct, which, to the best of my knowledge, is the best kind of correct to be. You don't actually need the government to provide water or sewage to everybody. However, you certainly need them to provide it to most people in order for our modern civilization to exists.

amarone
08-03-2011, 04:21 PM
Just what is in it for the city to have one provider? Is it really wear and tear on the streets or more power to the fief of the fiefdom?
Our county (Gwinnett County, just outside Atlanta) converted to a county service last year in which the county was carved up into several zones, each serviced by one of the existing private companies. (This solution was implemented to settle a $40m lawsuit, but that's another story). One of the major reasons the county cited for taking control of the service was that a significant number of people were not paying for a private trash service - they were just dumping (illegally), resulting in eyesores.

Our cost has gone up slightly, and more so if you use the optional yard waste service. There is now only one trash day, whereas we used to have trucks in the neighborhood several days a week, resulting in there being cans at the curb most weekdays.

The downside is that I cannot fire my provider (a right I had exercised previously). So far, I have had no problems with the service.