Proposed Service Cutbacks
May 29, 2008, 12:30 AM
Filed under: Budget, Water-Sewer-Sanitation

May 29, 2008

Sanitation Services Cutbacks

As you will see below, numerous Hollywood residents wrote in response our article on the proposal to eliminate brush pick-up and otherwise reduce sanitation services while increasing the fee. We heard from June Clarkson, Paul Klein, Joe Mumpower, Daniel Koehler, Susanne Phelps, Ken Crawford, Sara Wolfer, Bunny Mestel, Annette Novack, Susanne Phellps, Christian Mulack, and Commissioner Dick Blattner. Excerpted below, in no particular order, are some of their comments.

“This is one area that we should not cut back on…doing so would bring more rats, etc to the neighborhood.”

“What about the elderly who have no way of hauling the trash?  What about unauthorized dumping in your own alley way or swale at night by someone else, that will be a big problem.  A “My brush is now YOUR problem” attitude will certainly prevail in plenty of peoples’ minds.  We pay our taxes and deserve basic city services, and this is one of them.  You can rest assured that there will not be a shortage of city employees/staff out there writing fines.  One large palm frond could cost $45.00 to have hauled away, that is insane.  If we can’t afford it, then privatize it.”

“This city takes and takes and gives little to nothing back to its residents.  We just had elections in this city, and yet, it all remains the same.  The real problem here is not being addressed, we need to restructure the City’s budget from the top down and overhaul the way pensions and salaries are paid and how the funds are allocated for services.  But that is a whole other can of worms.”

“Thank you … for keeping us informed about the mess we seem to always be in with the City.”

“I am appalled to learn that the city of Hollywood is contemplating increasing the fee for garbage collection while reducing the service to the taxpayer residents. The Commission should realize that city government was not created to provide jobs, but to provide necessary services at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayers. Every avenue should be explored to provide garbage collection at the lowest possible cost while providing the most service. I also object to linking employee pay with the CPI to provide automatic salary increases. The question of medical and pension liabilities is also a knotty issue that the city has not addressed in this case, and is also an equally knotty issue for all the other city workers as well.”

“Something that some did not appreciate is that in the event we did go private, the union would encourage their members to bump “innocent” unrepresented workers who probably earn less than the sanitation workers, when the fact is that Waste Pro and others all said they would hire all workers who successfully completed the pre-employment process.  The benefits were comparable, except for the fact that the city offers a defined benefit [pension] plan we cannot afford any longer, and Waste Pro offers 401K plans.” [editor’s note: Waste Pro is the private hauler that the city commission was about to select when commissioners decided instead to keep sanitation in-house.]

“Another aspect of eliminating brush pickup is THE ADDITIONAL COST OF CODE ENFORCEMENT. Code enforcement, as you know, has a hard time as is to keep up with all the many current violations. Imagine the additional effort that would have to be made in time and hiring additional manpower to enforce thousands of additional brush related  violations. The city will incur new cost items in dealing with the messy alleyways and code violations as a result of excessive piles of brush.”

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