Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Same Old Refrain (leaf & limb edition)

Even though this one goes back a couple of months, the point remains valid (and is one on which I have been harping for years). The Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, in what was touted as a cost-savings move, cut back on leaf-and-limb pickup. Instead of every six weeks, the Solid Waste folks are now making the rounds every eight weeks. So far so good, at least insofar as the budget goes.

The problem is that leaf-and-limb pickup is one of the precious few services supposedly received by the residents of the formerly unincorporated area of the county (out here in the hinterland we get generalized police and fire protection, leaf-and-limb pickup . . . and that is about it). But even that is kind of iffy, as I indicated in a comment over at Blake’s Banner-Herald blog (scroll down to the very bottom):

I laugh whenever I hear someone make the “cut services” argument. Again, for years I have been pointing out the vast disparity in services between the old City of Athens and the formerly unincorporated area of the county. The explicit provisions of the Charter be damned. After 7.5 years of never seeing a leaf-and-limb truck in front of my house, I recently called the Solid Waste folks to see if such service was, indeed, available. The fellow I spoke with told me that he had been on the job for about three years; over that time he has had a steady series of such calls from folks who had been told that leaf-and-limb was not available in their area (which frequently turns out to have been incorrect – but that is what local government told then) and that the department would send someone out to see if service could be provided to my house. Three weeks later I still haven’t heard from anyone.

Note that this comment dates from more than four months ago. Since then, I have called Solid Waste and had essentially the same conversation at least three more times. I still have yet to see a leaf-and-limb truck in front of my house (for years those piles of limbs that I’ve left there sat unmoved until I got around to hauling them off myself) and I still have yet to hear the first word back from anyone at Solid Waste. I guess my next step is to whine to some Commissioners.

And by the way, those new spending programs that prompted the euphemistic “cuts” in existing services, even in the face of increased reassessments and a millage rate increase, are still in the FY 2009 budget.

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3 comments:

Adrian said...

I am really surprised that you haven't been called. I got a response from Jim Corley after writing a letter to him with comments about the service.

I still don't understand why our service is so infrequent when other cities have weekly or biweekly limb pickup. In those cities, you know which day the truck is coming by so you don't have to leave the stuff out for 10 days where it will kill your grass.

Anonymous said...

"I still don't understand why our service is so infrequent when other cities have weekly or biweekly limb pickup."

Cost. This is a part of the country where people say they want low property taxes. I'm not sure where else you lived that you're talking about, but in the northeast you'd probably pay 10 times as much in property tax as you would here on an equivalently valued property, and woudl probably have weekly pick up.

Adrian said...

I was actually thinking of Georgia cities Commerce and Macon.