The barrier to implementing Pay-As-You-Throw appears to have been resolved.
The city manager, mayor and council have all said they will remove $500,000 from the taxes that will equate to a savings to each taxpayer. This will be built into the tax cap so that the savings will be moved forward permanently. Therefore, there will be NO double taxation.
Trash collection should be viewed as the same as a utility — water and electricity — you only pay for what you use, not what others use. Residents who are already recycling to the maximum will not be negatively impacted by PAYT. They will be, however, relieved of the burden of subsidizing residents who chose not to recycle.
PAYT will give each resident the freedom to choose how much they recycle and how much they throw away. If you recycle, you will not buy as many bags. If you don't, you will pay for the cost of collection, transport, and disposal of your trash. The cost of a large trash bag is estimated at $1.75. Assuming one bag per week is used the daily cost is 25 cents. Most people could afford this.
One complaint was that tenants would not cooperate in the recycling program. Yet at the public meeting last fall, one tenant recycled extensively and had done so for years. Now that everyone would pay for what they don't recycle, the motivation is higher.
We recycle about 80 percent of our trash. The only things we throw away are plastic wrap that clogs up the recycling machines and styrofoam. Each week we have about five gallons of trash. If it was compacted it would be much less. All food waste and wet paper products are composted in the back yard. The rest is recycled.
There have been probably about 50 responses from the community regarding opinions on recycling options; those for and those against. With the total number of registered voters in Laconia at 9,665, this may be too small a sample to get any definitive number of those for and those opposed.
What has not been discussed has been the saving and care of the environment. Our lifestyle is detrimental to land, water and air quality. We live in a throw away society. Our economic system depends on producing and consuming. This disposable process creates continued waste and trash. Unless we develop a plan to recycle the waste, it won't be long before we destroy our precious resources. Recycling is just one way to help preserve our environment.
Option #3 Mandatory Recycling at 25 percent recycling rate would would save $11,700 in 2013 and a projected 10 year savings of $1,281,117 while PAYT at 30 percent recycling rate would save $156,000 in 2013 and a projected 10 year savings of $1,708,155.
In addition to the financial cost which had been a main objective to PAYT there could be an underlying issue. At the public hearing held in the fall of 2011 one speaker was irate at PAYT stating that he recycles now but if the city implements PAYT then he would not cooperate. Where is the concern for others, for the "community", for the environment? As citizens we need to step up and make a decision for the greater good of everyone.