The City of Tacoma intends to take its “pilot program” for garbage collection live beginning in March. Service will change from weekly pickup to every other week (TNT, 2-5). By November, following a phased-in approach, all 53,200 city customers will be affected by this change. Garbage will now sit at our homes for two weeks instead of one (longer over holidays).
Not only does this raise health and sanitation concerns, but this 50 percent reduction in service comes with no corresponding reduction in fees. We will continue to pay the same as before (larger can customers will pay more!). In exchange for that 50 percent reduction in service, the city anticipates a savings of over $900,000 – again, with no reduction in customer fees.
Should we expect that this will be a sustainable cost savings or, like so many things that have to do with fiscal management, will these savings be absorbed and lost over time? We should be very concerned not only by a potential health threat, but by the certain negative effect this will have regarding the reputation of our community as a place to live and do business. The mayor and City Council should reverse course on this initiative before it’s too late. Can you say, “Aroma of Tacoma?”