There is a fascinating debate occurring in Paradise Valley. It’s the ultimate trash talk. In other words, should the tony town move to a single provider of trash or continue with the existing system of some 5 providers?
As Mayor Michael Collins has observed things must be pretty good when this is the subject de jour.
Interestingly, it’s an argument that’s largely been settled across America and Arizona. About 90% of cities and town use a single provider because the economies of scale result in lower rates, fewer trucks, less pollution, less noise and overall a more coherent approach to sanitation.
Yet, Paradise Valley has never adopted such a reform largely in the name of “limited government.”
So, as commentators of “Smart Opinion. Mostly Right,” let’s look at that philosophical approach a bit more.
First, HOAs in Paradise Valley, including those lived in by Councilman Paul Dembow and others, most often use one trash company because by pooling their homeowners they have greater buying power. And besides a lower rate they can negotiate they also get less truck impact on their community.
So why is it OK for HOAs to have this ability but the other 80% of individual homeowners cannot? Why can’t and shouldn’t they be able to pool together, like HOAs, to create maximum buying power for lower rates and a better overally environmental impact? Right now there’s no way to do that in Paradise Valley. Under the proposed change they would.
Pooling is at the heart of the Republican approach to health care. The more companies and individuals can join together the more ability they have to negotiate better packages, including across state lines.
So when it comes to limited government Republicans in our nation’s capitol adopt the approach Paradise Valley is considering when it comes to health care. So why not trash PV GOP?
Opponents of a single-hauler system also talk a lot about choice. That is, homeowners should be able to choose any provider they want when it comes to trash service. We get and appreciate that point of view. But people don’t get such a selection when it comes to ambulance service, photo radar, towing or police and fire service. That train has already left the station. But when it comes to the current proposal what choice is really lacking? Residents can still get once or twice a week trash, multiple cans and recycling. In fact, town staff has even negotiated MORE choices with the future service to also provide things like Christmas tree disposal, household hazardous waste and shredding that aren’t currently available for most. So the issue really isn’t “choice?” It’s whose name is on the truck. Let us repeat that. It’s whose name is on the truck. This is a key point that has been made by former Councilwoman Jini Simpson. And in the end, is the name on the truck a philosophical mooring more important than lower costs, fewer trucks and all the other quality of life benefits a reformed system would provide? Do any of us really care who made the school bus or who operates it so long as children get safely to school?
This leads us to former Paradise Valley Town Councilman Dan Schweiker. At a town event earlier this week he stunned the audience by announcing his support for the change. In stints previous on council Schweiker was single hauler’s biggest opponent. But he now believes town staff has injected sufficient and substantial choice into service. Schweiker’s opinion culiminated an event where some 90% of those in attendance also stated support for single-hauler. But it was Schweiker, along with former Mayor Ed Winkler’s support, that became the exclamation mark on the topic. Going into the meeting one could have waged a better bet that Donald Trump would give up Twitter than Schweiker his opposition to single-hauler.
And that leads us to another Great Scott! moment. In his 2016 campaign for Paradise Valley Town Council Scott Moore had this to say in the Paradise Valley Independent about a possible change away from the town’s trashy approach to a single hauler.
“This solution keeps us out of the trash business and helps reduce daily noise, reduces safety concerns and helps minimize our annual asphalt and street maintenance costs by having less trucks on a daily basis. Residents are expected to see a reduction in fees based on the size of the contract with the town.All of this could be accomplished without creating more overhead or government.”
But after receiving a few emails generated by a special interest garbage hauler that didn’t even bother to bid on the contract Moore seems to be singing a different tune. JFK wrote a book called “Profiles in Courage.” Moore should read it lest he wants moore cost, moore pollution, moore noise, moore accidents, moore wear and tear on the roads and moore failure on this topic to be his legacy with it.
Arizona, and Paradise Valley, are great places because one can pretty much wear flip flops all year long. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a fashion faux paus in the winter, especially now for Moore, as they are so politically unbecoming.