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Board should solve, not hide, garbage problems

Brookhaven aldermen last week found an excuse to hide behindclosed doors as they waiver on solving the city’s solid wasteproblems.

Calling the matter related to pending litigation, aldermen usedthe city’s annexation trial as cover for their latest inaction onthe garbage issue. Contract negotiation was also mentioned as areason for the board’s executive session.

Yes, the city’s ability to handle garbage collection services inthe proposed annexation area has been discussed during the trialthat will resume later this month.

However, it’s no secret the city has a garbage collectionproblem, regardless of the annexation trial. The only secret is howthe board is going to tackle the problem.

A solid waste consultant says it is possible the city can saveup to $400,000 on garbage collection costs throughprivatization.

How — or even if — the city board will move toward realizingthose savings is not known. Some officials have indicated a desireto keep city-run garbage services, or at least trash services, ifgarbage collection privatization is done.

What privatization would mean for citizens — in terms of costsor having to bag leaves and pine straw for pick up — remains anuncertainty due to the closed discussion.

And so far, only a little light has been shed on a questionablecity proposal to purchase land and develop a landfill. Supporterssay it would be an ideal and money-making venture.

We’ve heard rumors of the plan costing upwards of $20 million,money that would almost certainly have to come from a bond issue.In that case, any customer savings through privatization would bemore than offset by higher taxes or user fees to pay debtservice.

There is no question aldermen face a tough andpolitically-charged decision on the solid waste issue. The boardcould be commended for examining the issue from all sides, but itis past time for the board to act.

No solution is going satisfy every one. Following last week’saction, it’s a shame aldermen can’t say that in public.