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Plenty not known about city decision

Brookhaven aldermen have finally made a decision to move forwardwith privatized garbage services and to maintain trash collectionduties handled by city employees.

Because of two recent closed-door discussions, though, whatimpact the board’s decision will have on citizens remains to beseen. The secrecy raises questions that need to be answered.

Will the current $12 a month garbage fee have to be raised?

The $9.95 per-household rate suggests that it will not. However,how is the city going to handle trash collection duties and whatresults will that produce?

Will citizens have to bag pine straw and leaves or cut limbs toa certain length for pick up? Will there be any accommodations madefor elderly residents who may not be able to do those things?

What will happen to approximately 18 city solid waste employees?How many can the private garbage collection service use? How manyemployees can be relocated to another city department? Will anyhave to be let go?

How will the city use the estimated $646,000 a year in savingsfrom privatizing the garbage collection service?

Will the savings be used to purchase new equipment for the trashoperation and thereby potentially improve efficiency?

Or will it go toward a study and possible development of adubious landfill proposal, one that we’ve heard could cost as muchas $20 million? And how much money from this proposal can the cityreally expect to realize?

Do city officials know the answers to these questions? Havethese issues been discussed behind closed doors?

Perhaps officials don’t have all the answers yet. They say muchstill needs to be done in the way of public education andpreparation before the private company begins operating March1.

As of now, only one thing can be said about this importantdecision with any certainty: Because city officials can’t stay outof “executive session” long enough to talk about it, citizens canonly wonder what the plan will mean to them.