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Why is Waynesboro looking to privatize trash collection?

waynesboroWhen Waynesboro City Councilman Frank Lucente says to trust him, don’t trust him.

“I’ve been working on this project for nine months,” Lucente said Monday in his hard sell of a proposal to privatize city trash collection services.

“I can see some tremendous efficiencies here, for the city and for the citizens,” said Lucente, reminding us of another thing not to trust: a self-styled conservative trying to privatize public services.

Without offering hard numbers, Lucente claims the move would generate $3.5 million for the city over a five-year period.

Those numbers come from Lucente consulting on his own with a representative of  Waste Management Inc., whom it sounds has Lucente’s approval to get the contract to deliver trash collection services once he can browbeat the rest of City Council to go along with his scheme.

“This is a company, like all waste companies, that’s their business. I think they can serve the public more efficiently,” Lucente said.

At what cost to city residents? Yeah, we don’t know that yet. City residents are currently paying $14.50 a month for trash collection services from the city.

You can just about guarantee that the monthly fee will go up. See Lucente’s comment above for why.

Waste companies are a business, and businesses have to make profits; whereas cities offering public services don’t have a profit motive.

And therein lies the fallacy of running government like a business, but that’s another debate for another day.

Lucente has already announced that he doesn’t intend to run for a fourth term on City Council in the May 2016 elections.

It would be nice if he’d go ahead and stand down now from his quixotic 11-year effort to dismantle city government from the inside.

– Column by Chris Graham