Tuesday, September 9, 2008

County or Waste Management?

Are you satisfied with your trash pickup by DeKalb County? My guess? The answer is YES! However, private sanitation company Waste Management has made an offer to the new city of Dunwoody that the council might not be able to refuse.

Waste Management is offering to provide all of the services that DeKalb County does for 5 percent less (currently, we pay $268 per year for trash collection). But here's the big carrot - if we sign a 10-year contract with WM, they will give us $3 million upfront. Remember, our entire budget is less than $20 million. This single contract with Waste Management could ensure that the city operates at a surplus in its first year.

So what are the downsides to the deal? If WM lives up to its end of the bargain, seemingly none. Except for this. DeKalb County is not happy about WM's offer. The county already has the equipment and personnel to handle our trash, and they would like to continue as our provider. It makes economic sense for them. And if we don't stick with the county on trash, they may not be so kind to us in providing other services that they will continue to render even after we are a city. There could be repercussions.

The council will have a huge decision to make on Day One. How would I vote as your councilman? I can't answer that question at present in that I haven't spoken with representatives for WM or with the County. The issue is not as cut and dried as it seems.
The above information was presented to the candidates last night at the same time as the proposed budget (to be addressed in the next post). I was the only candidate in my race who attended the full session.


Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell (TOD) said...

Exactly to whom did WM deliver this proposal? Do we already have a shadow government? (That's a rhetorical question).

Between the way Citizens for Dunwoody treated us and now this offer, I'd say the general opinion most folks have of us is that we are singularly motivated by greed. I suppose we have put on quite a display.

On point, if anything were to change in our waste pickup service, I'd vote to change to once per week pickup.

Bob Fiscella said...

While this proposal was made to officials representing the city, they have NO AUTHORITY TO ACT! It is the city council and mayor that will formally hear all proposals and take action on them.

I don't agree with the comment about greed. If two entities make an offer - wouldn't you take the best offer? Is that greed? I believe it's good judgement. With that said, I'm not certain which offer is best at this point in time. We certainly do not want to alienate DeKalb County, which has been a valued partner over the years.

When you go to the polls, just remember which candidate deemed it important enough to go to the meeting, and actually hear the presentation (we still don't have details) first hand.

By the way, last night's meeting was publicized and was open to the public.

Bob Fiscella said...

One reminder - I was no a member of the Citizens for Dunwoody!

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell (TOD) said...

Forgive the scatter gun comments...

The greed observation is a culmination of many things not just this one event. The pre-referendum posturing including "our money going south and no services coming back" and the assertion (now proven false) that we can provide better services without increasing taxes. I would refer you to the Dunwoody Yes website, but oops, it's gone!

We were not sold on quality of life improvement at any cost. The promoters pandered to those people who wanted something (more) without paying (more).

I for one am not amongst those. I would not mind paying more to get more. But...it is these panderings that convey the impression that voters in Dunwoody are led (exclusively) by their pocket books.

And who are these officials you mention and by what authority are they official? Is this the governor's appointees? If not, how did any outside party identify these people. Let's be honest, someone picked up a phone and called someone else.

Yes, one should evaluate multiple offers and pick the one that is most suitable. And no, that isn't greed. But the proper selection may not be the cheapest either (as I believe you point out).

Also, once it became necessary to do so, meetings have been in the open. It is the previous acts of our neighbors that were (legally) conducted outside the view of the public that I take issue with. They have brought us to a point where we will be hard pressed to act in anyway contrary to their plans. IE: the council will not have time to do much else.

It is a plus that you are not party to the groups that brought us here. We appear to be headed towards a 'good ole boy' system from day one.

That being said, I don't see a major calamity, I'm simply disappointed that we have not to date taken full advantage of the opportunity to put on a clinic on open governance.