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Proposed budget means big changes in garbage pick up, police department structure

Information courtesy WBTA:

A big change in garbage pick up, a shake up of the police department and a pay raise for council members are the main features of the proposed city budget.

City Manager Jason Molino told council members about the proposed changes in garbage collection, dubbed PAYT for "pay as you throw," which will remove garbage collection from property owners' tax bills and have users of the service foot the bill.

The user fee will extend to nonprofit agencies and churches.

"You pay for what you throw away," Monlino said. "So, if you want a smaller tote or larger tote, you are going to pay respectively. If you throw away more, you are going to pay more. You throw away less, you are going to pay less. Another aspect of the program is unlimited recycling, and that also has the ability to help control your costs of what you throw away."

The automated system -- one-driver trucks will use a mechanical arm to pick up the totes -- will also help reduce costs, Molino said.

The apparent lower bidder for the program is Allied/Republic, a national waste management company headquartered in Phoenix. The company operates in 39 states and has 30,000 employees according to its Web site.

Allied/Republic submitted the lowest of four bids at $4.34-million dollars over the next five years.

Genesee ARC, which had been providing the service to the city for nearly 30 years, bid 4.99-million dollars. It appears ARC's bid was the highest.

ARC Executive Director Donna Saskowski said the loss of the city contract hurts the human services agency:

"I will have to lay off between 8 and 10 people," Saskowski said. "The agency will loose $800,000 in revenue, and we will have to find different jobs for the people with disabilities."

Saskowski said half of the people expected to lose jobs have some form of developmental disability.

The 2013-2014 proposed budget technically calls for a reduction in the city tax rate from $10.71 to $9.15. However, when the average cost of the garbage fee is factored in, Molino said the impact on the average homeowner will be a “wash.”

A big change in police department operations will save about $10,000, according to Molino.

Currently, the supervisory structure of the department includes three lieutenants. The lieutenant position will be eliminated, replaced by two police officers, a sergeant and a deputy chief.

The deputy chief position will be non-union.

The current lieutenants, Eugene Jankowski, Jim Henning and Greg Steele, have elected to retire rather than accept a demotion to sergeant, Molino told council members.

As for council members, a raise for the elected officials approved 6-3 in February, will be instituted, increasing compensation from $2,000 per year to $3,500 per year, beginning April 1.

The only way pay raises could be prevented, Molino said, was for the council to vote down the entire budget proposal or opt to pull the pay raise allocation from the budget plan and vote on it separately.

Council members Patti Pacino and Pier Cipollone said on Monday night they would not support a pay raise. Both had supported the pay raise measure in the February vote.

UPDATE: The city has posted all available documents about the changes to garbage collection.

jason reese
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I can save even more money for garbage pick ups, have prisoners pick up the garbage.

Mary E DelPlato
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What kind of kickback is jason getting from this company in phoenix? Just for council to think about this and take jobs away from area citizens is a stab in the backs. For a person who came to be manager and got a higher pay than what he was first offered you are no less than a common thief. Thief...yes... a person who takes things away.

John Roach
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Mary,
Can you back up your claim of a kickback, or are you just running off with the mouth?

As for Jason's idea, sounds good on the face of it, but most people do not want child molesters and thieves going around their neighborhoods. And we would have to hire someone to watch them all.

Not mentioned by WBTA is that property taxes are projected to DROP by a bit over 14%.

dennis wight
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in doing the math, i would save $75 in taxes and spend nearly $200 in garbage pickup on a yearly basis. This makes the city budget look a bit better, but cost to residents are going up...again. I think you are gonna see more garbage dump on the side of back roads. What a bunch of BS. Thanks, Molino, for costing the residents more money...again. I'm still willing to bet we see NO reduction in property taxes...any takers?

John Roach
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Dennis, I will take that bet. How much?

dennis wight
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I'll bet $100, john, that the property taxes don't drop anywhere near the 14% you stated. You wanna hold the money?

John Roach
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Dennis,
Your statement was for "NO" reduction, none at all. I'll take it if you agree at 9%. We will meet and have a mutual agreed to person hold it, ok?

By the way, how much of a property tax cut would make you happy with the budget?

Ted Wenzka
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John, DROP 14%. Sorry but I am from Missouri. I have to see it to believe it. You have to remember these are politicians, small city maybe, but they are still politicians. They will say whatever makes things sound good. Take for example the comment of the council person who is against pay raise but votes YES.

Richard Richmond II
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I attended the City Council Meeting and listened to the proposal. I have to tell you it was an eye-opener.

The list of tax exempt properties is astounding and the taxpayers...the tax-payer property owners, including Senior citizens on fixed incomes are mandated to pay for the Police and Fire Service for these mentioned TAX EXEMPT properties.

Not only that but the burden is on the property owning tax payers to provide free trash pick-up for these mentioned TAX EXEMPT PROPERTIES.

Under Jason’s proposal everyone will be paying their fair share; I repeat everyone will be paying their fair share; including the mentioned TAX EXEMPT PROPERTIES.

The totes come in three sizes. There will be a covered tote for trash. There will be a covered tote for recyclables.

The Property owner will select the size appropriate for the number of occupants residing there.

The totes come in three sizes. They are serial numbered and registered to the specific property. They have a tracking chip to prevent theft and eliminate use at another location.

The cost of garbage removal is contingent upon the size of tote that one chooses; less garbage less cost; fair and equitable.

Under the current system, the taxpayer property owner pays the same amount regardless if he or she puts out one bag or five.

Is this fair? Is this equitable? Under Jason’s proposal everyone will pay their fair share.

Let us stop the name calling and/or innuendos-“Kick backs”.

Let’s take the politics and special interest groups out of the equation.

Let’s take the garbage talk out of our trash and recycle polite discourse to allow everyone to pay their fair share.

Mary E DelPlato
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Let's keep jobs here for the honest working citizens...no I can't back that up...do you think id make it public if I was getting a kickback...this stinks..period

Mary E DelPlato
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Here is the eyeopener....8 fine honest hardworking residents will lose their positions...doesn't that mean anything?????

Cheryl Wilmet
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Has anyone learned what the cost of the totes are? Unless I am wrong in the way I interpreted this statement "The 2013-2014 proposed budget technically calls for a reduction in the city tax rate from $10.71 to $9.15. However, when the average cost of the garbage fee is factored in, Molino said the impact on the average homeowner will be a “wash.”." Also there will be a cost to support the employees who will lose their jobs at ARC plus what will the cost increase to when the original contract with Allied/Republic ends? Anyone who has a family already has been overwelmed by the extremely high prices for food, gas, etc. and now they will have to decide what they have to cut back on to pay this garbage fee so if I am right about that statement, then everyone's cost goes up whether you are a homeowner, tenant or landlord. No landlord is going to lower his rent so a tenant can afford to dispose of trash. Please enlighten me if I am wrong.

Jeremy Yasses
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I am wondering if we have to participate in the garbage pickup? Owning multiple dwellings, if the totes "disappear", how many times do I have to buy them? Can I just purchase a same size garbage can which will be much cheaper?

Mary - Unfortunately people are losing jobs everyday but it is not society that must pay to keep them employed. This is a business decision, unfortunately to many people don't look at it that way. If you are that passionate about keeping them employed, start a small business and hire them. It is real easy and very profitable, just ask anyone who doesn't own one (small business)!

Linda Knox
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Regarding unlimited recycling - nothing has been mentioned about those "larger" items we currently must purchase stickers from the city for in order to place at the curb. If the city residents will still be required to sticker items, that's a continued additional cost. Have provisions been made in consideration of this? All the discussion focuses on bagged garbage and the usual metal, glass, plastics, etc. recycleables.

Kyle Couchman
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Cheryl I can tell you what some landlords are gonna end up doing. They will end up placing small dumpsters on properties and have private contractors take care of their stuff. What I am interested in is what the city is gonna do when some people out of ignorance or just plain stubborness still put bags out. Are they gonna just let them sit there? What is gonna be the process for tickets and disposal? Fines structure? Even now I know of some properties that have that "Trashy" look because they barely complied with current trash regs. This change is gonna effect all of us.

When I left Ithaca the trash issue was a major concern. Fine structure was $75 first offense, $150 for second offense within that year and finally $300 for every violation thereafter for the rest of that year. You could go to court to answer or dispute the ticket but all that usually did was tie up the court. Just that aspect alone makes me wonder why go this route.... the cons seem to outweigh the prod and those property owners that pushed the city to this are gonna regret what its gonna end up costing them in the long run.

I believe that the city is happy to give us the 14% reduction, that will be more than made up in fines and court fees that you will pay. And if it doesnt then just the stroke of a pen will make increases back to what they were before the change, to fund more raises I'm sure.

Kyle Couchman
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Really Jeremy so I guess its ok for the council to vote themselves raises while the disabled become unemployed by virtue of their decisions. Nothing like knocking down the disabled who will end up getting county support (not that they arent entitled and deserving) and lose the feeling of self worth from loss of gainful employment. Doesnt seem like a good trade off to me as the costs that a few property owners think they are saving end up costing them much much more in the long run.

Ted Wenzka
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So I am going to have 2 of these totes sitting next to my house. One for garbage and one for recyclables. I hope I can paint them to match the color of my house. This will help to hide them. Is our great council members going to have them viewable so I can figure out what size I need. What happens if I have a party and exceed the volume of my tote. Am I going to get fined for leaving garbage along side the tote?
Just more BIG BROTHER telling us how to behave.

John Roach
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Kyle,
Too bad that as usual, most people did not attend the meeting.

I have nothing for or against ARC. But it is not the responsibility of the City to tax people to help pay and employ other people who are not City employees. Many of the taxpayers themselves are unemployed. The ones still working just had their paychecks cut 2% by Washington and need a break.

How many times have we seen here that people want the City budget cut and property tax rates dropped? Council told the manager to find ways to do that and he did, despite the fact that state mandated retirement fees go way up and health care cost ballooned.

True, Council might add something to the proposed budget cutting the 14.58% tax cut down a bit. But probably not more than 1 or 2%. They might even make more cuts, who knows?

But what percentage tax cut will make you happy?

Shannon Laurer
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Will the residents have the option to use another garbage disposal company or are they required to use the one the city picks? I know if most people have to pay for a service they tend to want to chose the one right for them and their wallet!

John Roach
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One interesting number given out at the meeting was that there are approximately 331 parcels in the city that do not pay taxes. That number includes government buildings like the fire station, the court building , post office and the like, but still, that number is large.

Mary E DelPlato
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Seeing my dollars are going into this "business" I have a say n which employees I wish to keep aboard. I know what its like to lose your job. You serve your community then bam...its all gone...its a low blow...these guys don't deserve this....there are other ways of cutting costs...ie: the fat on the top

Cheryl Wilmet
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I agree with John Roach as it seems like a large amount (331 parcels in the city that do not pay taxes). I would love to see that list. When Howard comes back maybe he can obtain that list.

Ted Wenzka
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Interesting statement - "One interesting number given out at the meeting was that there are approximately 331 parcels in the city that do not pay taxes. That number includes government buildings like the fire station, the court building , post office and the like". Can someone explain why they don't pay taxes. They receive services that we common folk have to pay for.

Kyle Couchman
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LOL John you have no idea of what Large is..... Coming from Ithaca, the city has 70% of its properties listed as tax exempt.... The downside of having Cornell University and Ithaca College as well as the average tax exempt properties. So 30% of the property supports 100% of the city. Cornell University alone generated 5 billion dollars in cashflow of their own the year before I left, and though they drain the police, fire and trash as well as other utilitiy and city services, they begrudingly agreed to a pilot of only 1 million to the city for this. If they paid 1/4 in taxes on their properties they would be paying 10x that amount.

As Mary pointed out, our dollars pay their salaries so the city should at least attempt to do what the public seems to want. As for the decsions and resident participation do you think if a petition was turned in, with everyone in the city signing it saying that ARC should stay the provider that things would have been any different? How about the same for pay raises? Once in those chair most view themselves as "The Boss" and only before elections do they begin to care what our opinions are. Yes your right more people should attend and say something but it's still not right. If everyone sees a bank robbery and doesnt call the police. Does that make the bank robbers right or justified in their actions? I dont think so

John Roach
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Another point missed is that many businesses in the City use a dumpster service, like restaurants and convenience stores and they do not use ARC now.

They also currently have to pay to have your garbage bags picked up as part of their property taxes. That will stop, helping our local businesses at least a little money. What's wrong with that?

John Roach
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Kyle,
Even if ARC had not been the highest bidder and was picked, the service and fee structure is still being changed. And while many want ARC to still have this job, I have not seen where many want to pay more money than needed and so far none have said they do not want a property tax cut.

There are a lot of unemployed people having to pay property taxes and those that are still working just had their pay checks cut 2%. Some where, some place, they deserve a break.

Kyle Couchman
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5,224 is the approx amount of tax parcels in the city of batavia.... so 331 doesnt seem that as large a number as everyone makes it out to be, about 6.3% of the tax parcels in the city of batavia..... not really that big is it.

Kyle Couchman
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But John even in the city managers words.....its not a break its a wash......even steven on the surface. The additional costs just dawning on people will come quick and then it wont be so great

Lori Silvernail
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There is no "wash" to this change. Now we will continue to have to buy garbage bags, PLUS pay for these ridiculous totes. Anyone who thinks those totes don't stink if your garbage isn't in bags, has never been downwind of them. And let's see how many of my lovely neighbors will shove their stuff into someone else's tote because they'll buy the smallest one. And what will all of us do with our current trash cans? They'll fill up a tote all by themselves if we try to chop them up and throw them away. Buying bags from the city and keeping the Arc as it is would have been a far better alternative. How I wish I could move out of Batavia...the day can't come soon enough for me.

Mark Potwora
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This program is a fair system..I totally agree with making all those that use the program pay for the program..Seems like the only ones it won't be a wash for is non profits and all those two and three family homes will now get charged separately for trash.I see alot of rent increases coming. We are getting a tax rate reduction of 14%.Home come when we took the ambulance program out of the budget we didnt get the same savings....I do believe they can lower that rate more...Having these totes will also keep animals from getting into the trash and making a mess..I have to give a thumbs up to the city for trying to control the tax rate....

John Roach
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It's amazing how many people here think that things that work all over the area can't work here. The hint that people in Batavia are dumb, lazy or criminal.

I will probably be one of the ones who break even on this. But this new garbage system is fair and equitable. And the rate, no matter if it's ARC or another, will be stable for 5 years and not tied to how much your property is taxed at.

And if the New York State had not forced Batavia to increase our pension contribution and had health care cost had stayed even or gone down as promised by Obama, our taxes might have gone down another 2%.

Mary E DelPlato
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My uncle Louie is rolling in his grave right now

daniel cherry
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I feel so bad for the people from ARC losing their jobs.Outsourcing isn't that what this is?How does this help our community?These people have done a tremendous job all these years.I personally know many of them.They do not deserve this.

How do we know that Allied/Republic will do a good job?Does this mean our rent will go down from 925$?We have done our best to recycle everything we can.Now we have to pay to recycle?What will allied /republic do with the trash?Will it end up floating in the ocean?How much more would it cost the average house hold to keep the ARC on?Since this is supposed to be a democratic society why couldn't we have voted on this?

I do not think these cuts are in the best interest of this community.

david spaulding
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hey what about the pay raise? went up almost 100%....damn,i am jealous,wish i could give myself a raise.only raise i'll get is out the door....i propose we make a law that says everyone can vote themslves a raise...governor may i ? oh he's busy making us safe from guns,

daniel cherry
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Your Uncle Louie was a great man.If it were not for him my daughter would not have had a grave stone.Many of the old Italians who started ARC would not have approved.But they were from here weren't they?

Richard Richmond II
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John, may I get in on that bet? I’m thinking at least an 8% tax savings.

I know you’re serious about your bet with Dennis and are not bluffing should he take you up on it.

Did he get back to you yet?

david spaulding
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hot topic...love it.....answer me this? how much money will it cost to have my garbage picked up?let's say i use the largest tote.let me have that answer in a monthly payment...anyone have that figure?

John Roach
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David,
If you were working in 1994, what was your yearly pay? Has your pay gone up since then?

Council pay has not really changed since 1994, so for the first time in 19 YEARS, it will go up. When you consider the time each Council member spends on city related matters, the new pay rate comes out to about $3.30 per hour.

They will now earn a whole $67.30 per week. If they stay in office for 20 years, they will earn a retirement of $1,750 a year or $33 a week, at age 62 or 65, depending on when they started. I am sure you will jump on that windfall and run this November for Council.

John Roach
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David,
The cost if Allied gets the contract would be $16.50 for the largest.
The cost if ARC gets the contract would be $18.58

But for the smallest:
Allied $14.08
ARC $18.58

Richard Richmond II
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John, a clarification; is it true that regardless who gets the contract the totes will be used included?

The trucks are automated, correct; one truck and one driver?

Ted Wenzka
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John,
You show yourself to be a true politician. To me, the council position was never intended to the only job for the person. A responsible person has a full-time job and being on the council is their way to better the city. My thoughts are if the person does not like the hours/pay then don't run for the position. They should not expect to receive a retirement from being on the council. The person gets their retirement from their full-time position. Thoughts like yours are the reason this country is in the fix it is now in. We do not need professional politicians.

Jim Rosenbeck
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Howard, when I saw your post about how much you want two totes on wheels, I immediately thought, " wouldn't it be nice if Howard could buy what he wanted on the free market where competition insures the lowest price?" Instead you must by the product that the city offers at the price they establish. Oh yes and let's not forget that now we need tracking chips in our refuse containers to protect the city's investment. Guess what, the price of that garbage receptacle just went way up. The free market will always be a better provider of services than the government. We have yet to see what unanticipated expenses this new business venture by the city might provide us. I find it hard to believe that this wont become an administrative nightmare. Distribution of the city's new product line, policing of the new policy, billing, collections, accounting. I wonder who at city hall is waiting to take over these duties? Sad, sad misguided decision.

John Roach
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Ted,
The point is that after 19 years, the pay rate going up is justified, and fair compensation. And none of the Council members have this as their full time job. At a current rate of $2,000 per year, that should have been clear.

As a point of clarification, the retirement pay is not something the City came up with. All legislators, County, Town, Village, etc. are under the State retirement system. And I was wrong when I said it took 20 years to get the half pay of $1,750, it is 25 years.

Mary E DelPlato
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I'm not gonna buy a tote...will I get fined???yet another source of revenue...id rather see my money go to good use and that's making sure 8 guys have a life....because for some this is their life..give ypurself another raise molino...you deserve it doncha

david spaulding
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thank you john for those figures...
i live in genesee co.outside of the city,my trash collection bill (large tote included) is 37.50 dollars a month.as far as i know,there is no option for smaller tote.as empty nesters we usually have two grocery bags of trash.i think the tote is heavier than my garbage...
i share this so you have a perspective as to what others outside of city limits are paying.

Jason Crater
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Ted, in what alternate dimension do you live on where someone can retire on $33/week?

None of the council people are full time politicians...and they're not paid like they are.

Michael Pullinzi
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A few problems not noted. Those 331 properties not paying for trash collection.... they are Government buildings, Fire Dept., Not-for-profit Community Services, etc. Almost all are tax payer funded organizations. If their costs go up, our costs as taxpayers go up so that does not save anyone a penny and is passed on in higher property taxes. So the "wash" for changing to the new system now in reality will cost us all much more. Additionally, sending out thousands of trash bills will pretty much counteract any increased recycling efforts as we will now have monthly billings to deal with instead of annual costs in our property taxes. Another thing for anyone that itemizes on their taxes, you will no longer have the benefit of your trash costs to itemize in your propety taxes that use to be tax deductible so that will cost you another minimum 23% (dependant on your tax rate) additionally for the same trash disposal you are getting now that is tax deductible. Clearly there are no real savings or benefits to this plan and the City will likely get a windfall the first year as the timing of the new fees will not likely coincide with reported property tax changes if we ever indeed see them at all. The additional problems of storing totes, elderly moving totes in winter or even good weather, etc. just makes this trash deal stink even more. I hope this whole mess ends up being the final straw that breaks the camel's back in the City of Batavia to motivate others to run for City Council so we can finally get some with real sensibilities on Council to get this City back on track. The Town is doing great and the City has one bad idea after another. Bad Leadership = bad government.

John Roach
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Michael,
The vast majority of government buildings use dumpster service now and still will. There will be no additional cost. And as far as the City goes, I believe the only City money going to not for profit organizations is Go ART to offset the cost for the July 4th Picnic in the Park.

Mark Potwora
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Michael you said......The additional problems of storing totes, elderly moving totes in winter or even good weather, etc. just makes this trash deal stink even more....
How are the elderly moving their trash cans out for pick up now.. How are people storing their trash cans now....Totes are no different then the trash cans we use now.Only difference is that these have wheels on them.......Your theory on non profits will cost all tax payer more to support doesn't hold true.They pay for the water they use.The city doesn't exempt them from that bill ,so why should they be exempt them from paying for the amount of trash they throw out.....

Michael Pullinzi
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Now John if that were true, where does that put your theory that so many are now not paying and this is going to result in a great benefit to all of us as a result? You are also very very naive if you really think your property tax dollars are not how these not-for-profits are funded. When community service organization costs go up taxes go up to pay for them. Sure they receive funds from all levels of Government, but we are the ones that fund all those levels. The City Manager already made it clear there is no savings, that it will be a "wash", and the truth is there are no savings and it will cost us all more. Mark, Your wrong on government paying for water use. Does the City bill the Fire Dept and City Hall? Who gets the bill for flushing the hydrants etc.? No one, it is just a cost that is paid for in the rate much like their trash collection should be. Does it really make sense to you to bill the Fire Dept. for trash pickup when we fund the Fire Dept. operations? What's next, billing them for propety taxes too? Not everyone has the volume of trash you apparently do either Mark and trash cans are not necessary with most using a trash bag. Most overwhelmingly do not use cans at curb side. Under the new system the large bulky totes are required and will be a definate problem for many to store them and put to curb side on top of snow piles etc. to enable pick-up not to mention their being blown into the street etc while everyone is at work etc. If you read above you will see this has been noted as a concern by many. I also don't think anyone can simply opt out and get a dumpster John or most will be doing exactly that and if there are fewer users that will again increase the costs. Sooo the new system will cost more or at best be a "wash", it will be at an increased burden to most with the totes, and there will now be monthly billings instead of annual payment in property taxes and the costs can no longer be deducted in home owner income taxes. Sounds like a wonderful plan.... for whom???

ROBERT JOHNSON
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Found this interesting. Did the city check their references? This is one of many sites I found

http://allied-waste.pissedconsumer.com/

RICHARD L. HALE
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Why don't we all just wait and see how things go. Seems to me, a while back, you saw signs on peoples lawns talking about doom and gloom about ambulance service being farmed out. How has that worked out? Haven't heard much.

Ya think people just like to bitch a little?

Mary E DelPlato
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ambulance service? well oh well...used to be 300 now 600 and if ya have to go to rochester its 1200....no wonder insurance premiums rise

RICHARD L. HALE
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See what I mean.....enough said.

Mary E DelPlato
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LOL

Jim Rosenbeck
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I will be investigating trash removal services available in the private sector. If anyone knows of a good company I can contract with independently, please leave a response here.

Kyle Couchman
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Robert Johnson thank you for the link however none of those complaints on Allied Waste have anything to do with us, the closest complaint was Pittsburgh PA and the went as far south as Salt Lake City, Utah and as far west as Portland Oregon. None were for NY at all so while interesting (if this is a nationally run company) it doesnt apply to us at the moment.

Lori Silvernail
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According to the presentation, "automated collection requires one truck and a driver". Tell me, just how is ONE driver with his truck going to hook onto these totes without another person? Parking is allowed on my side of the street but not the other. People will park however they choose... sometimes mid-way in the area in front of my house, sometimes they practially block my driveway. Does the truck have a magical arm that will reach around the cars to snag the tote or will the one driver get in and out of his truck hundreds of times a day?

And in response to the question of the elderly being able to manage these totes vs. bags... You can drag a bag across the snow and basically shove it somewhere near the road and it will stay. A tote may have wheels, but what good are they when the snow is as high as it was during our last storm? And where would the tote be placed? There is no way to put it up on top of the piles on the parkways, and heaven forbid it was left on the sidewalk and impede the sidewalk plow!

I DON'T CARE whether this works in other areas or not. It won't work for ME, and I don't see it being a positive change for the elderly either, yet it's being shoved down our throats. Even if 500 people attended the council meeting, the decisions made in the city of Batavia are predetermined before any council meeting ever takes place.

Sarah Christopher
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I looked through the information about the new system and it says that recycling is free....does that mean we get the recycling tote for free or do we have to sign-up for 2 totes? If the city does give the 14% tax reduction and I only have to pay for 1 tote, then this seems like a fair system...although it will pretty much be a wash and not a savings for me...but hey at least I won't have to go looking for my trash cans everytime it is windy.

Lori Silvernail
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Gotta love The Batavian posters hiding behind negative votes rather than stating why they don't "approve" of MY OPINION. I see lots of (what I perceive to be) lecturing about why all of us should just be doing a frickin jig over this change. Yet how many of you are foaming at the mouth about the NYS gun law changes because you believe it is taking away your "rights". Really? We ALL have our opinions about things that affect us personally. Quit hiding behind the thumbs up/thumbs down mentality and realize that the garbage collection decision is just another way of the government deciding what is best for us. Same thing as the gun control laws. On a different scale, of course, but it's another example of Big Brother.

Go ahead with your negative votes, I hope I can get over them!

Kyle Couchman
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LOL Lori I always look at the thumbs down vote as an acomplishment, people dont bother with voting unless you tick them off with thruths and facts they dont want to deal with or shatter their illusions about the real world.

Lori Silvernail
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Thanks Kyle. I gave you a thumbs up because you bring up a good point. Plus, I don't want you crying a river over a negative vote like I am. I can barely keep these tears from dripping all over my computer...

John Roach
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Sara,
You get 2 totes. One will be for trash and one for recycling.
You will pick from one of three sizes for the garbage tote.

The default size you will be given for recycling is the middle size, 64 gallon. If you find that you need a bigger one for recycling, they will give you the bigger one. They want you to recycle as much as possible.

Mark Potwora
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Lori for me i think this is a good idea .You think its a bad idea..The city is trying to create a trash collection service that is fair for all.. John made a point that most businesses used a dumpster they don't use the service but have to pay for it...The city is trying to find ways to lower the tax rate.How do you attract new business with such high tax rates...Malino figures this service cost 1.50 per thousand assessed value.So those who have property assessed at 80,000 or less will probably pay more.The same holds true for 2 and 3 family rental property.Some will pay less. But it will be done fairly.How does the city cut the tax rate and create growth .I think most are upset because ARC lost the bid..I want a government that treats us all equally including paying for trash pick up......I do give you a thumbs up for expressing your opinion....

Lori Silvernail
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I hold no ill feelings towards those who are in favor of the change. However, this system won't work for me. I don't feel that I have to post a picture of my house's layout to prove why it won't. House/driveway/house is the way it's set up for me. I don't have room between my car and the houses to drag a tote from the backyard. As I've said, it's either a matter of me leaving the tote out in the front of my house, or moving a car from the driveway in order to haul the tote from the backyard. Good luck with that happening in the winter when I have a very long driveway and as it is, have to shovel everything to either the front or the backyard before I can even get my car out of the driveway.

As I understand, if a person has more trash than can be put into their tote, they will be charged for the bags that are picked up. How will that work? Is the truck driver going to be writing down "2 bags of trash from 100 Any Street" and then the resident will receive a bill? Instead of that, they could offer an option to purchase bags from the city (oh, go and make them florescent orange if ya want) so there won't be that issue. Then those of us who choose not to or who are unable to find a way to use totes could continue putting our garbage out in bags. The summertime is an entirely different situation. I can easily pull my car into the road in order to haul the tote out. In the wintertime, I'm doomed, period. All I'm asking for and suggesting, is that all of us are not painted with the same brush.

And with that, I'm pretty much done explaining why this option will NOT work for me.

Robert Brown
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Right on Ted! There should be ZERO retirement benefits for council members. Quite frankly, that policy should be law and should be extended to ALL elected officials. Not a single elected official should retire on the public's dime...EVER!

Robert Brown
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Per the presentation, this is not guaranteed to be a fair system: "Pay As You Throw variable cart pricing program that increases equity, incentivizes recycling and allows households that reduce waste to save money."

Increasing equity still has the potential for costing citizens, especially some with low or no income, more! Along with the eliminated tax benefit mentioned in prior posts, the new system forces an upfront cost, one which many people cannot afford. Built into the plan is an assumption that all residents owning totes put out their tote for collection weekly. That is absolutely not the case for snow birds who are out of the city potentially 6+ months a year, vacationers, and people who just don't generate enough waste to put out weekly (there are many single citizens who simply do not have to put out trash weekly now).

Pay as you throw pricing should be exactly that - pay for what you throw away not an annual fee for the size of garbage tote yo have on your property.

Like Howard, I have seen the tote system physically work well. My experience has been in a snow-free environment where there are not cars parked on the street and the long magical arm on the truck works well with cans - as long as there are properly positioned for pickup. The trucks also run on 100% manufactured propane from the waste collected! Get with the program Batavia!

I'd personally love to see a true pay as you throw system. Each can has a chip -we could be pilled per pickup with minimal up front costs for the cans. I'd also like the option to have free or low cost totes for recyclables and well advertised drop sites for free recyclable drop offs including big ticket items.

As proposed, the new system has not been entirely scrubbed for fairness.

Jim Rosenbeck
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Howard, we contract with different service providers for similar services every day. A couple examples are snow removal and lawn care. Competition to provide services involving multiple potential providers is not only workable, it is preferable. Competition generally results in the best valuefor the consumer.
As you point out, the automatic truck lift may well be the smart move when it comes to lifting large totes. Still, I question why the city chooses to enter into the tote procurement, distribution, billing, accounting and collection businesses. Why not simply provide the standard measurements for lift suitable totes to local retailers? Allow the free market the opportunity to provide the product. The need to protect the city's sizable investment in publicly owned molded plastic by including expensive chip tracking technology drives up the price. Just another example of how government is inherently less efficient than the private sector. I will always be able to buy my own refuse tote cheaper than the city can provide one for me.
Howard, I would agree with you that "providing for the safe effective removal of refuse from city property is a basic government function" . However, once that function becomes a pay as you go service offered by the city, I believe the door has been opened for free market competition. The SCOTUS would seem to support this position with their ruling on The Affordable Healthcare Act. The court ruled there that a government has the right to tax but it cannot mandate that its citizens purchase any product or service.
You also wrote that "the free market is no sensible solution for areas of common community interest, need and utility". I challenge that position and point to the success of our privately owned local hospital and ambulance services.
I will still investigate my options to contract privately for refuse removal. Perhaps others will do the same. Who knows. I may end up deciding that the city provides the best service for the price. But what if even 15% of property owners opt out of the city provided service? Will the contract just signed still look so good with 15% less monthly revenue to pay the contractor?
I continue to believe that the city leaders charged with a difficult task and well meaning in their intentions, ultimately took action in a presumptuous, paternalistic and potentially fiscally dangerous manner. If we have people opting out of the city service for more affordable options, if we have unused city owned totes going unused and/or if we need to hire additional staff to run our new business, then Our City Council will have difficult questions to answer.
As always, I appreciate the opportunity to debate the issues on The Batavian. Despite the philosophical differences we may have with one another, I believe we are united in working toward a better Batavia.

daniel cherry
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Ok they made up their mind.It does not matter what we think.So they put some people who have done a good job for years out of work.And hired out of state.That's real progress.The automated truck can do it.

Can some one please tell me how poor people are going to pay for this?Will the city force our land lord to pay?Now what?Will they have a garbage patrol here?

John Roach
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Daniel,
While you may or may not like the present service, you do already pay for it. Either as a homeowner, or tenant thru rent. Did you really think ARC does not get paid?

Jim,
As for cost, the contract does not allow an opt-out for individual property/parcel owners. The property will be charged for the service even if you hire somebody else, so you will end up paying twice. Of course, you can pay to take that issue to court and you have a 50-50 chance of winning I would guess.

Jim Rosenbeck
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Well John,
No opt out only works, if we choose to be lemmings. I would love to see that tested in court. As I indicated in my previous post, I believe that the Supreme Court has already ruled that government cannot force people to purchase services.

Jim Rosenbeck
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Howard,
I am with you on that. I would be willing to pay more for the service if we were serving the greater good by employing local handicapped people. That is where I am all about localist ideals. I have a hard time believing this plan has much to do with localist ideals though. Looks to me like more of short sighted focus on how to generate revenue. John Roach believes that challenging the no opt out feature of this plan has maybe a 50-50 chance of being successfully challenged. I believe it is significantly higher than that and would be interested to find out if others in the community might be willing to join me in challenging that clause.

John Roach
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Jim,
I was being very generous when I said 50-50. I don't think you will win, but good luck anyway.

Mark Potwora
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Thats funny Howard...I was also behind the city going to private ambulance service..I thought sharing dispatch was a great idea..There is some part of this trash issue i don't like.Main one being that rental property gets a break on the number of totes the get..Ex.96 gal tote is 198,if you get 2 totes the cost is only 239.You can get 5 totes for only 359.It should be 990 dollars....Seems like rental property is getting special treatment..I do like the fact you will be able to throw out 3 big items a month without a sticker such as the case now..I will probably pay the same as now..So i won't benefit at all.But it will be alot fairer then it is now..I hope that city council can correct the big price break for all those rental properties in the city and charge accordingly.

Beth Kinsley
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Embrace the totes guys! I have one and it is so much easier to bring my garbage out. Even when we had all that snow I had no problem getting it through the snow to the curb. It's plastic so it slides easily across the snow. No more smelly garbage bags on the street for the stray cats to get into and no more garbage cans blowing around the streets. I do hope they can keep the ARC on as the contractor but the totes just make more sense. I just wish I could have one of the pink ones they have in some of the suburbs.

Jim Rosenbeck
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Truth be told John, I am just an old man who doesn't like being told what he has to do. Smile I genuinely like Jason Molino and have no personal issues with any of the council members. I appreciate that they have a dificult job to do. I will probably end up falling in line and walking lock step with the rest of the tax payers on this one. But, every so often I like to let them know that there a few of us out here that can still think for themselves. I should really break down and purchase a Batavian membership. If for no other reason than to compensate Howard for the theraputic catharsis.

John Roach
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Now, that's a good reason to join!

Michael Pullinzi
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Your asking the wrong question Howard. Instead, I would ask you what is it that you feel is broken with the current plan that would require such a drastic change and if this same system has worked here for many years, employed local handicapped citizens, and no one is complaining why would you make such changes? I have been involved politically and in Government for about 35 years and never once have I had a citizen voice complaints about ARC or our trash bag system that is included in our property taxes. There have been a few above average incomed Council members over the years that feel they are paying more than others because they have grand highly assessed homes, but it is definately NOT a predomiant issue on the minds of the average bear. Well.... at least not until now when they want to ditch ARC and bring in this new system.

John Roach
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Michael,
I understand you like the present system and I understand it will probably cost you more now with your rental units. That's a fair argument for you to make.

But I don't believe the intent is to get rid of ARC. They made a bid and truly, I was surprised they were the highest.

Michael Pullinzi
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No John, wrong again. It will cost EVERYONE more, but at least it will still be deductible for any landlord as it is a business expense. All other homeowners however, will now not be able to deduct such costs because it will no longer be in their property taxes. Like you said, tenants will pay for any increases in trash collection through higher rents etc. too. It's not about that, it's about an increased burden on citizens in changing a system that is working, that citizens have not asked to be changed, and that is turning it's back on ARC that has provided long time excellent service and also provides a community service in employing handicapped citizens. You don't change a system and force people to use a tote system, and make Churches, community service organizations, etc. pay for a service the commuity now provides just because it irks John Roach that some non-for-profits are not paying and he thinks this will lower his own costs.

John Roach
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Michael,

Nobody turned their back on ARC. They made a bid, and it turned out it was the highest one.

And there is no reason for anyone to have to pay for somebody else's garbage. There is no reason why businesses who don't put out trash should be forced to help you keep your cost down.

I don't see why rental properties with more than one unit get a lower cost per tote than single family properties and want that looked at.

And I will end up paying either the same or a bit more, but I think in the long run, this is best for the City.

Mark Potwora
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Micheal would you still be upset if ARC won the contract.....All they have to do is lower their bid and they could of keep the contract...When this first came about ARC said it would mean 20 people would be out a job..Now they are saying 8 people might be laid off..Their bid also had Boone and Sons doing most of the work..Meaning they were going to make most of the money in that bid..All ARC was going to do was the recycling part....A couple of hundred dollars that wont be able to be written off your taxes is a weak point..Doesn't amount to a few dollars.Most people don't even itemize any ways..I also think your point about no one was complaining about the present system is also wrong..No one complained about the service just the way the city charged for it...I'm sure many businesses weren't happy being charged for a service they didn't use..In the end i will be paying about the same no saving for me ...This will lower the tax rate.We need new businesses in Batavia and this will help.I dont feel that i need to pay for non profits.Many of them i don't agree with..How do you control cost for trash unless you put it up for a bid ?

Michael Pullinzi
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Ahh... and so there is the real motive isn't it? So why didn't you acknowledge that in the begining? You argued this is a great program to save home owners money yet now you admit there is no savings to residents, but there is savings for commercial properties who are allowed to opt out of this new great system and run with their new property tax savings (which will be thousands of dollars in savings for some businesses), but average homeowners are mandated to participated and are left holding the bag with a new system of forced totes and no savings. The City is turning their back on ARC when they install new policies like the tote that require a HUGE cost for ARC making it impossible for them to compete. As noted, personally I am opposed to the new system due to the burden of the totes, the loss to home owners of including the fees in their property taxes which results in at least a 23% increase in the annual costs to homeowners when it is supposed to be saving them money, and because of the axing of ARC as the contractor when they are providing a community service in hiring area handicapped. I would be for a system that allowed the convenience of a bag system without mandated totes, a system that is included in our property taxes so homeowners have the benefit of deducting the cost on their income taxes, and a system that uses an area contractor that employs local people and provides employment to our area handicapped. Oh wait... that's the system we have now.

Mark Potwora
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You keep on bringing up including the cost in your taxes so you can write them off on your federal tax return..200 dollar write off on your federal tax amounts to a few dollars.. Most people don't itemize...So it means nothing....No one said it would save all homeowners money...Any house assessed over 120.000 dollars will save money..It is called a fair system.....You still haven't said how you would control costs..ARC rates are to high..Tell ARC to lower their price and they can have the job...Micheal i respectfully disagree with you on this...I don't like the discounts given for multiple totes...I don't think multi family rentals should get such a discount...I would rather have pay per bag..But that option is not on the table...

Robert Brown
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Excellent commentary Jim!

Robert Brown
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The problem is the court would likely rule this as a tax - that's how the game is played...and it's a one sided game.

The plan is based upon a set fee 5 year contract which becomes a forcing function for revenue to cover the commitment. It may approach fairness by forcing the purchase of the largest containers and extra bags by the largest garbage producers but it grossly penalizes the recyclers and minimal garbage producers. Allowing an option to opt out of the totes but purchase official bags would better approach fairness. I can only conclude that the verbiage was carefully chosen to sell a fairness plan which in reality is just a technology push, one which the courts will favor.

Whomever gets the contract I would hope hires local drivers to man the trucks.

We should not pay even more just to have a local garbage company to manage the drivers.

John Roach
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Michael,
Other than your stated desire for no change, will you explain to us how it is fair that if a small downtown business owner has enough trash that they need a dumpster service and also are forced to pay for regular garbage service they do not use.

Just how is that fair? They will still be paying for a dumpster. This new pay system just means they do not have to pay twice. So explain why you think they should pay twice.

Michael Pullinzi
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John, do you skate? Do you use GCASA? Do you benefit from flowers hanging downtown? Do you use storefront improvements for businessess? Do you use the Senior Center? Do you patricpate in all the City sponsored events at Jackson Square, parades, Music in the park? Etc. etc. etc.??? It's called community. Services are provide and paid for by all, but that doesn't mean all use the services they are paying for, yet they do all benefit from the services as it improves the community as a whole. Some services should not be exactly how much you use or you would get a bill anytime you call the Police or Fire Department and the ones not doing so should not pay because they didn't use the Police or Fire Dept. Does that make sense to you too? Those businesses you say are paying twice for trash pick-up and that you want others to pay more so they can pay less also have security systems and guards. Do you also want them to not have to pay property taxes for Police and Fire protection?

John Roach
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Michael,
So your position is that businesses in the City should subsidize trash pickup for others. And your position is that some property owners should help pay the trash pickup for other private property owners. Your position is that we should pay for GCASA's trash pickup.

Under your position, we should be subsidizing water use, electric bills and natural gas bills, all rolled into our property taxes. Yep, that's the way to bring in more business.

Your position is that fair billing is not a good idea for the future economy of the City.

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