Reconsider trash plan
The East Forest Park Civic Association is writing to voice its concerns against the new Pay As You Throw Trash Fee being proposed by Mayor Sarno. We are upset that the city has been active in trying to change the trash fee without any citizen feedback and was looking at bids that were due on June 10. We are also troubled that the Mayor will "educate" us about the program only after the bid has been accepted and implemented.
Springfield taxpayers are all ready feeling the squeeze from higher home heating, gasoline costs, property taxes, food and health care. Many working families have seen a substantial increase in the cost of living while earning the same wage. Some are having a hard time making it, as can be seen with the increasing number of home foreclosures. Will the citizens of Springfield be able to afford the $1.75 per bag fee that is charged in neighboring East Longmeadow? It may not sound like much but if resident only threw away one bag a week it would amount to $91 plus the gas consumed in buying the non-biodegradable blue bags carrying the city seal. If a family had to dispose of two bags every week it would cost $182. Will a large family who is already having difficulty making ends meet be willing to spend money on trash bags? Will low or fixed income families be able to afford it?
We are also concerned with the administration costs of $775,000 that will have to be added towards a Pay As You Throw System. Moving to this new fee system doesn't eliminate the trash fee and doesn't appear to keep a campaign promise. Mayor Sarno knew the condition of the City Budget even before running for mayor since he has served on the City Council for four terms and also sat on the Control Board as City Council President.
We do not understand why Mayor Sarno would make an "empty" campaign promise to eliminate the trash fee only to propose another.
The city maintains that we have a choice to opt out of the trash fee with a private trash company. However, an area reporter researched private firms and found none in the area would provide weekly pickup for residential trash removal. This suggests that the fee would be mandatory.
I contest anyone that says there isn't a problem with illegal dumping in Springfield! If there wasn't then we wouldn't have to hold the Keep Springfield Beautiful initiative at the end of April. Our Civic Association filled a 20 cubic yard dumpster in the cleanup campaign on April 2007. The dumpster will probably have to be larger in 2009.
We urge the Mayor, the Control Board members, and the City Council to keep the current annual trash fee and barrel system in place because it works.
East Forest Park Civic Association