The city has a long history of providing sanitation collection services. I don’t know how it worked out financially for the city in the early days, but I do know from reading the articles linked below that Grand Rapids has had to subsidize the system recently with figures reportedly ranging from 2 to 3.5 million dollars.
As mayor, I would work with the city commission and look closely at how the system has evolved and evaluate whether it makes sense for Grand Rapids to continue to provide sanitation collection services. The city system now virtually duplicates what’s available from private collectors. I’ve spoken with neighbors using private collectors and determined that the rates they pay are comparable with those charged by the city.
This issue also affects property taxes. There is a taxing unit called “City Refuse” on property tax bills, and I was told this remains relatively constant year to year. If there are shortfalls, the weekly pickup rate will be increased, as recently happened.
I don’t believe government has to provide every imaginable service, especially when there are private industry alternatives already in place. Money not spent efficiently can go where it will be more effective. This is another issue, like fluoride, that I won’t be afraid to evaluate. If elected, “because we have always done it that way” won’t deter me from questioning things with a fresh set of eyes, and proposing the difficult decisions where applicable.