When Laconians voted in the tax cap, we decided that we wanted to explore alternative ways of solving our financial problems other than immediately hiking our tax rate. It has meant that tax bills have seen small increases in line with or below inflation rather than the double-digit increases in some of the years before the cap. Our councilors have worked hard and creatively to keep the city's budget within the constraints of the cap. Now it is our turn.
The decision of the council last Wednesday night to give mandatory recycling a try gives us the opportunity to prove that we are willing to do our part to help keep our taxes low.
The council has been faced with the continually rising costs of getting rid of the city's garbage. At the same time the State of N.H. has been "solving" its fiscal problems by telling the cities and towns they have to pay more. Unfortunately, the cities and towns have no choice in the matter.
But we do have a choice regarding trash. Though the costs have risen, we can control how much garbage we have to pay for by recycling more of it. Just like families reduce their electric bills by shutting off lights when they aren't using them or reduce their heating costs by dialing down the thermostat a few degrees, so we need to reduce our disposal costs by recycling.
Reducing our trash by recycling more of it is a win-win for all of us. It lowers costs, freeing up more money for the council to work with as they deal with bills they must pay, it keeps our taxes lower, and it's a responsible approach to our environment. Moreover, with single stream recycling, it's easy!
If we don't meet this challenge, Pay As You Throw (PAYT) will almost certainly come to our city. No other community has reached as acceptable level of recycling without PAYT. Last Wednesday evening our city council gave us the chance to be the first, to show other communities around us that we can meet this challenge. Let's do it!