County at risk in 'privatization' of solid waste... NYC anyone? | Letters
November 1, 2011 · Updated 12:30 PM
I live on Waldron, and in spite of the low level of solid waste services available here, I strongly support the solid waste parcel fee.
Whether or not the county contracts for solid waste disposal services and thereby “privatizes” the solid waste functions is a side issue, but a vital one.
The county could make a contract under either option. But if the county does contract its solid waste function (more likely under a “No” vote) things can happen that will seriously threaten local control.
1. Today, the county can adjust rates and services. Under a contract, the power to regulate rates passes to the state utilities commission. Would you rather deal with the council or make your case in Olympia?
2. People who think they know what their future rates will be are kidding themselves. There is no contract yet. Once entered into, the county cannot change contract or performance bond terms.
3. Keeping the county in control would permit it to deal with the “Friday Harbor” and other issues. Adjustments to make things more equitable may not be possible if the county grants control of its collection and transfer stations to the contractor.
4. If a contractor goes bankrupt, its interest in the contract is protected. The county’s isn’t. A national corporation may take over, approved by a federal judge. Rates would change again. Trash may pile up while the matter is in the courts. Think “New York City". If the county steps in to remove the solid waste… we’re right where we started, with legal fees to pay.
Solutions that look simple often aren’t. This one isn’t. This has to be thought through, not reacted to.
Please vote “Yes” for the solid waste charge.