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Monday, November 3, 2014

Today's Waste Hauler vote is all about consequences. Vote No.

If you  think the vote is just about the number of waste haulers that will serve the City  you are sadly mistaken. It is about the consequences of a total overhaul the City's waste haul program.

A NO vote maintains the system we now have. It is one of multi trash haulers hired by the residents and while not perfect  it is one that can be modified at will by the residents or their elected officials who presumably act on behalf of the residents.

A Yes vote asks the City commission  by ordinance to hire a single waste hauler, and would irrevocably change how waste removal services in our city is decided. The initial contract proposed  is for five years. 

If you think City Commission knows best on this issue you are sadly mistaken. The Commission's work or even due diligence on the subject of waste hauling has been virtually non existent.

It was City Clerk Amy Burton who at the direction of City Manager Jay Cravens rewrote the City's waste hauling ordinances last winter. Both Burton and Cravens are paid employees of the City and as  Cravens has pointed out on occasion are  residents of The City of Rochester Hills. 

Last  August it was City Manager Jay Cravens 

who wrote the 48 page  " City of Bloomfield Hills Municipal Solid Waste, Recycle, and Yard Waste Collection and Disposal  Program  that  the City Manager intends as a blue print  for a single waste hauler system he  proposes the City adopt.

In the September it was Cravens, who in a letter to all  City residents, listed by bullet points the presumed benefits what he was has in mind. Behind the bullet points however are paragraphs in the  48 page MSW Recycle and Yard Waste Disposal Program document  that tell a different story than the bullet points.

If you want to see the difference between what was mailed to you and what has been submitted to City Commission read our article,

Bullet points of City Manager Craven's letter to residents provide first glimpse of life under the proposed Single Waste Hauler. by clicking here   

None  of the bullet points listed in Cravens' letter are as yet approval by City Commission.

 For voters wishing to vote yes this is a problem. Why ?  Because you really don't know what you are voting for or what your vote will create. 

In the October 22 edition  of the Birmingham Bloomfield Hills Eagle (last week's paper) Cravens said he expects that this Spring, Bloomfield Township, will  rebid  its waste hauler contract.  If Bloomfield Hills residents votes Yes , Cravens said there would be the possibility  for the communities   coming  together for a single contract to "drive down  (waste hauling) prices even more".

In reality, like most matters on this issue, Mr. Cravens has it backwards.  A Yes vote by its very ballot language ties the City into a certain course of action. It can not be construed as blank check covering a wide range of possibilities. Such exactness precludes waiting till May to see what the township might do.  Otherwise you are talking the classic bait and switch . The actual ballot language appears below and should be read carefully. If passed it is binding on both City Hall and residents. 

Shall the City Commission of the City of Bloomfield Hills adopt an ordinance whereby the City, after competitive bidding, would enter into a contract with a single
Waste hauler for exclusive garbage and recycling collection for all City residents, with the City residents paying the garbage and recycling collection bills directly to the single waste hauler?

There are very few positive aspects of a Yes vote. Worse for almost every bullet point  Mr. Cravens presents there is usually unstated consequences.

Year round unlimited yard waste disposed of for free in paper lawn bags is listed as benefit. In the fall however  you will be obligated to bag your leaves yourself (unless you hire a company or kids to do it) for the mandatory waste hauler leaf pick ups. Other options such as mulching your leaves, raking them into a wooded area of your lot, filling a depression, or letting another company (other than your City chosen waste hauler) to dispose of them are not available. 
Many  small points such as this that add  up to one
 big problem. City Commission  has yet to approve any of Mr. Cravens  minutia in the waste hauler proposal he has submitted. A fix is required and this point on the eve of the election the best fix is a No Vote which has no hidden agenda and is thus the safest alternative.

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