Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Curbside Recycling Dance

Fellow citizens,
While I have not heard of any specific details, I am encouraged that the Davids will work things out and our fair city will indeed have curbside recycling. It was officially voted in with some new points that need to be worked out. I believe at this time that things will work out and very soon we will be enjoying curbside recycling.

It is true, and yes, tonight, I have let the joy enter my feet and have FINALLY done the "Curbside Recycling Dance"!!!! as seen in these three cheesy photos taken for your enjoyment. Celebrate with me the great step that Greenville is getting ready to take . . . and get down and do the Curbside Boogie with me!!! :')

"It's curbside, get your groove on, no more trash can, get your trash on...

It's curbside, single stream now, fill your bin now, no more land fill...

It's curbside, do the boogie, rinse your plastics, get your groove on...

Go, go, go, go...go, go...go, go!....

Go curbside, go Greenville, your so green now, get your groove on...

Go Doty, get the bins now, at our curbside, not the tracks now..."

Go curbside, wheel your cans now, do the dance now, get so happy..."

OK. I'm done.

Goodnight Greenville!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ARG, Double ARG and the October 13th City Council Meeting

I don't even know how to begin to describe what I saw last night during the City Council meeting. I, quite frankly, don't want to rehash or relive it either. I will try to do my best of writing something, because I was actually there with a lot of other folks for a very long time. (Got home at 10pm). I was disappointed in the display of certain members of the council and puzzled by the anger that poured out. There were issues brought up out of no where that had never been mentioned before, at least in respect to Doty's new offer for curbside recycling. Why wait until the final hour of voting to bring these issues up and rehash old wounds? If this was really a big concern, why didn't they give Dave Doty a chance to address this earlier than right before a vote? I can only conclude that it was an attempt to scuttle a deal at any cost. It just didn't make any sense.

William Boyd was a beacon of sanity. I appreciate all he did to try and shine some light on faulty logic. As one who has been trying to improve the recycling program of Greenville for some time now, and has faithfully used the bins down by the tracks, who has weathered many controversies and troubles, and who has attended many meetings to get things pushed forward, I find it very funny that our mayor was so worked up about the bins. He had more angst and anger about it than we ever have had. It just didn't make any sense to stop progress forward by such a huge leap over two silly little bins down by the tracks and the woes of the past. At one point Will Boyd figured that for the citizens of Greenville to get back what they are somehow owed by Doty Sanitation for two more years of dumpsters by the tracks it would work out to 25cents a household. Dave Doty even agreed to give that money back somehow in some kind of rebate. That wasn't enough to sway the mayor. Both he and Kenny Hampton wanted those bins to stay put for two years because that was what the current contract stated. At one point Kenny said he didn't care if they were welded shut. Both he and the mayor kept saying they were trying to protect the interests of the community. The community in attendance didn't want to be protected from a shortage of at most a dollar loss, but wanted curbside voted in for the city (signs saying this fact were held up high many times during the meeting). And even if by some chance we are being swindled out of something, I don't care, and I don't think anyone else did either. Curbside is worth a few bucks under the bridge. Forgive, forget and move forward.

The discussion that the council had was long, windy, and at some points, I felt very petty. It's time to move forward. I felt bad for Dave Doty and how he was portrayed last night. I have found him to be a very kind, earnest young man, who is really trying to do the right thing in moving us forward. He took a lot of flack for the bins by the tracks and he has been somewhat of a scapegoat. He provided those bins at his own cost. He bought the newer one for 8,000 even when he knew it would be trouble. We were demanding easy access and we got it. It turns out that Dave Doty was right, however, that easy access ment free dumping, which is exactly what happened. Contamination became a problem which led to the Montgomery facility rejecting our recyclables, which led to the City having to pay extra for Dave to haul our stuff down to St. Louis.

Dave Doty is willing to freeze our rates for 7 more years, rates which haven't increased for the last 5 years. He is then going to provide curbside recycling for $4.25 for those 7 years. He is also agreeing to purchase at his own expense all the bins for each household in Greenville. Folks, it just doesn't get better than that. One bin, no sorting, easy, conveniant, and practically free when you consider the price freeze over the next few years. Why would we not take this? Because the City wants their peace of the pie. What pie? How about forgiveness or thinking about others for a change, or the earth and all the crap that will be kept out of the landfill? It's not always about money. The city revised Matt Roadmans earlier motion to vote for mandatory curbside recycling that in addition there be a penny per pound payoff to the city whenever Dave Doty starts making money. This is what was voted on 3 to 2 and (Kenny and the mayor were the nos, and Kenny mainly because the dumpsters would be removed). This, however, was not part of Doty's earlier deal so even though it was voted in, will Dave Doty go for it? I don't know and that's the rub. It's not time to celebrate just yet folks.

A couple of things:
  • Dave agreed that older/elderly people could be free to put their recyclables in a small bag instead of the bin if it would be to troublesome to get to the curb. In fact Dave Doty agreed to lots of demands. He sincerely wants this to work. Yes, he is a business man, but he also wants to do the right thing. That is actually refreshing.
  • Dave also agreed to provide bins at the $4.25 rate to commercial people so that if they suffered from the removal of the bins down by the tracks, they could still recycling quite easily.
  • A 46 gallon bin would be overflowing in two weeks. The mayor wanted bi-monthly pick up to reduce the cost. If you are recycling correctly, it would be full each week, especially for a larger family, 4 and up.
  • I know that people don't think they can fill those bins, but as I said above if you are recycling everything that is recyclable, it will be full.
  • The tipping fee was put in place and available through the state of IL to help get programs up and running. It was not ment to be our personal recycling revenue/fund indefinitely. Yes it will decrease as recycling increases. Good! That means it is working. Again, it's not necessarily about making money here.
  • When folks go to a council meeting, they will probably want to speak. They will have a hard time watching the council make a motion, second, then look like they are about to vote without having a chance to say anything. If we can't speak to potentially sway votes, then why be in attendance? That was part of the crowds frustration last night. For the record the crowd did eventually get a chance to have their say. Thank you.
  • The City will get 9% of the 4.25 that Doty is charging for recycling. It is to go for processing fees since Doty is now using the City to do his billing. The city does this billing of Dave Doty's through the already existing water bill.
  • The City wants to use the penny per pound money that will come back as, partly, assistance for those who can't afford perhaps the $4.25. This would be on top of money that would come from the Bond Co. Board and the recycling tipping fee. I don't think there are that many people in Greenville that would need this assistance. At one point it was said that 150 people could be helped (If the entire 4.25 paid) or 300 (if 200 paid) . Let's not forget here that if this all did not go through, your trash would go up each year most likely by at least a buck, if not more. This you would also have to pay no matter what, and you certainly wouldn't be asked about this hike.
  • Thanks goes out to Dave Willey, City Manager, who kept his cool and was a gentleman the entire evening. He brought up 5 options or recommendations for the council to vote on. They were well thought out and layed a clear path to mandatory curbside recycling. Thanks Dave for your work.
  • Thanks to Matt Roadman for his initial motion and for having the guts to just do it!
  • Thanks for all the people that turned out to support curbside! The room was packed. Thanks to Cecelia Ulmer for providing all the Recycling signs!!

If you feel like I'm spinning here, it's because I am. I could go on indefinitely, and that is exactly what being at the meeting was like last night. I can attest to the fact that this issue of how to handle recyclables and make everyone happy can be maddening. There are no easy answers and don't we know by now that we can't please everybody? Sometimes you just have to say enough, stop beating the horse, and just do something - like take a perfectly brilliant offer for curbside recycling which includes plenty of help for those financially strapped, and just DO IT!!!!!

I don't know if I can take another City Council meeting. I don't know if Dave Doty will go for the new modified proposal. I still don't know if the city of Greenville has recycling. There was a big whoop that went up after the vote was taken, but I just sat there with a sinking feeling in my gut. We'll see...Maybe I'm just pessimistic and it's going to go through, but this gal has been slogging through this stuff for about two years now and I just don't know. I'll believe it when I see it.

Note: I need to work on my gameface! :') I'm a bit too transparent about my feelings and last night was no change. Sorry if my vigerous head nodding, clapping, faces, gestures (of a non crass kind), sign holding, and sighs were too much for you. I really didn't mean to offend anyone. I'm just about played out on this fight. Maybe it's time to put the horse in the barn and let someone else fight the fight - cause I tell you, I'm just to the point where I want to yell, " What? Are you Kidding me?!!!" "What's wrong with you?" That's probably not helpful for anyone :')

For now, I will take my recyclables to the tracks and continue to use the bins. Folks, they are emptied, BTW, on Wednesdays and not Fridays as the Mayor suggested. He was confused as to why they have been full on Saturdays. They have been emptied on Wednesdays for quite some time, which I'm surprised he didn't already know. And BTW, they are full, because more people are recycling!!!!Thus curbside, in which even more will recycle. Take your plastic bags to IGA or Wal-mart, lay off the glass and take what you have to the Edwardsville bin in the Home Depot lot (weekdays), and if you want some money, take your aluminum to Ted's in Mulberry Grove. Try to compost too. Pretty soon, no one will have any trash to put out on the curb :') I can dream can't I?

I think I should stop now because my face is going into a permanent frown and that's not good for anyone. :') Especially someone fast approaching 40.

Look for Jeff Liedel's article in the paper. I'm sure that he can make some sense of what happened.

Monday, October 12, 2009

City to Vote on Curbside Recycling

Dear Readers,

We are definitely approaching a most momentous occasion. Tomorrow night at the City Municipal Building our Mayor and City Council members will be meeting at 7:30pm. On the Agenda is listed, "2. Recycling – Discussion and possible action". It is my hope that tomorrow night might just be the moment we have all been working towards for a couple of years now. The Council members might vote on whether or not to mandate curbside recycling for our community! Seriously!

I think that there is a good chance that most of the members will be for this move, however, there may be a couple of the members on the fence. It is imperative that all for this action come to the meeting and be part of any discussion that will surely take place. There are many opposed to this move, and I'm certain that they will also be in attendance.

I will not belabor the points of why this would be a great move for our community. If you are wondering why this is so, I welcome you to read previous posts. Any non-mandated contract with Doty where folks could opt in or opt out would just not be feasible. The cost would depend on those participating and I'm not even sure how that would work. Would our bill flux each month as participation ebbs and flows? It would seem to me to be a logistical nightmare.

I find myself numb at this point and so drained from the past couple of years, that I'm finding it hard to motivate to be pumped here. Ultimately, it is not my job to pump you up. I'm not Hanz or Franz. I will say at this point in time that I think it's just the moment of action. Either the City goes for it and does Curbside right, or we continue to slowly trickle on toward some future goal of sustainability that might come to be in 10 years. This goes for you folks as well. Either you want it or not. If you want something better for your City, for the Earth, for the future, then you are going to have to act. Come to the meeting tomorrow night. Get involved. Be heard. Make a difference. It does matter, and tomorrow night it will matter who is there and what is said.

If we don't get curbside, we can not fault the City. They have been working to resolve this issue for the City and have given us our time and our chance. If it doesn't pass tomorrow night, the only people to blame will be ourselves. If there was a huge outpouring of a response by citizens, they would have no problem voting mandatory, curbside recycling. So far, it's been a fair response but not that much more than the negative voice saying, "NO." Please just show up. Don't let this opportunity pass you by. If it flies it flies, if it dies it dies, but at least you came and gave it your best support.

Thanks for listening and thanks for reading. I hope the next time I post it will be to announce Curbside Recycling in Greenville.

Yours truly,