Toss The Plan To Privatize In Greendale Right Into The Garbage (and don't recycle it)

Some Village Trustees want to privatize garbage collection, but in the long run that would only hurt Greendale as a community.


The Village of Greendale has to legally offer RFPs (requests for proposals) from private companies to deliver goods and services currently offered by the Village of Greendale, like garbage pick-up. Usually this is no big deal - the offers come in and are for the most part glanced at by the Board of Trustees and passed on because we do our own in-house garbage pick-up and offer a great asset to the community with our "dump" for residents to use. Next year may be different however.

A couple of village Trustees want to see our garbage pickup go to a private company like John's Disposal to save tax dollars. I'm okay with saving tax dollars (hey, I'm a home-owner), but not at the cost of tossing village employees out on their butts for a lower-quality service to a large company that has no connection to our local community.

Many of the people who work for the Dept. of Public Works in Greendale live in the village themselves and take great pride in their job. But it's not just the fact that these guys are from here that matters, it's the great service they provide.

This time last year I was doing a project for an elderly neighbor of mine and took out her thirty year old rail fencing and a ton (literally) of crushed rock from around her house. The debris filled an entire medium-sized Uhaul truck. I rested my back then drove to the village dump where I still had NO energy left to unload my heap. Two village employees helped me heave heavy fencing into a dumpster then helped me shovel out a ton of gravel. Holy crap!!! I thanked them, went home and grabbed a few bucks for them. They refused the money and jokingly said, "Just don't come back for a while." ~ Okay, maybe they weren't joking, but they didn't have to do all they did for me.

I also just heard a story that happened this past week about a Greendale Public Works employee who when picking up trash in the "P" section found a diamond ring. They returned it to the homeowner. It was her mother's wedding ring which had been passed down and was set aside to take in to get repaired, but accidentally ended up in the trash. She wrote a "Thank You" letter to the employee and the village for their over-the-top service.

I have also personally seen employees at the "dump" waive off elderly residents, allow them to sit in their car, and empty their trunks for them. Actually, this benefits everyone waiting in line behind them as well because it will take 1/10 the time to get this resident unloaded and moving if a yard employee does it (come on, we've all been there).

Before I moved to Greendale I lived down South in a community where the garbage pickup was through a private company (There was no recycling). If there was something outside your trash container, forget about it - it sat there as the truck pulled away. And if you didn't like your garbage can thrown into the middle of your front yard or in the middle of your driveway and your lid rolling down the street, too bad. And the nearest "dump" was in the next county - a 45 minute drive away.

We're lucky in Greendale. We do our trash pickup in-house. My trash is picked up on Fridays and when I get home at night I usually have to open my bin to see if it is empy because it is right where I left it - And it is always empty, but upright and right on the curb where I left it and not in the middle of my yard. The village trash collectors average between 800-900 stops per day, and John's Disposal claims 1,000. What most don't know is that John's won't take it if it's not in a container, that their employees put in an average of 70 hours per week and that you will need your prayers answered if you want to contact management at their office.

I disagree with the idea of privatizing trash collection in Greendale simply in order to save a few bucks. If I want to save a few bucks I can make make my own lunches and coffee at home instead of buying them on the road. With less in state aid available and property values down I understand that we have to do a little trimming here and there, but we need to keep local control of our garbage, fire and police and not privatize these services out to for-profit companies that have NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER to the community.

From what I understand, the majority of the Village Board of Trustees, Village Manager Michaels and President Hermes want to keep these services local, but there are a few rotten apples on the board who have itchy palms and are waiting for their $ payback if John's Disposal lands a contract in Greendale...


On a related note, there is a movement to do recycling in-house by the Dept. of Public Works. After an initial investment of a new truck that has side hatches to replace a rear hatch truck from 1987, we could pick-up recyclables in-house and actually generate $ for the village instead of paying Veolia to do it for us, who then turns around and sells those recyclables for a profit.

According to the EPA 84% of all household waste is recyclable or compostable, so we should actually be recycling every week and putting out the non-recyclables every other week, but one step at a time. Even I don't recycle 84% of my trash, but I do fill FOUR blue containers every other Friday for Veolia - which usually end up nowhere near where I put them, but empty. And yes, I have an envelope already taped to my blue bin as a Holiday "Thank You" for my recycle guy because overall, he does do a good job.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

CowDung December 07, 2012 at 08:04 PM
'Your interpretation' is that one or more elected officials are seeking cash kickbacks? Don't you have any 'professional respect' for you elected officials aside from those on the school board?
M.S. December 08, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Why are the regular right wing trolls focusing on Jason instead of the question at the base of this article? I rarely comment because it is the same few right wing extremists who dominate the comments by volume, often straying from central issues into personal attacks. Can anyone focus on whether privatization savings are worth the inevitable decrease in service and increase in headaches? I pay a lot in taxes. I don't like paying a lot in taxes. But, the services I get are top notch-Public works, schools, paramedics, fire, police, etc. If I am going to sacrifice quality, there better be a SIGNIFICANT financial reward. From what I have heard from others who have privatized, that is rarely the case. And the savings from this bid, when translated to my tax bill, won't even meet the "significant" threshold.
CowDung December 10, 2012 at 03:17 PM
When the author makes statements that accuse elected officials of taking kickbacks without providing any evidence to support the claim, there deserves to be some focus on those claims.
sara December 11, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Treated sewage is regulated. Street runoff is not.
M.S. December 11, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Cowdung: I agree that he should be called out on this comment, but it is not the central tenet of the article. To neglect the privatization issue, which is the central thesis, misses the points. Jason: You should substantiate the claims you make that support the central thesis to give credibility to the points made.


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