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LETTER AT LENGTH

Letter at Length

 Posted: 2:00 AM January 10, 2013

New garbage bag charges are unfair

I am an 80-year-old single woman who retired in 2007 and moved to Ashland. I soon learned that this desirable town had excellent advantages for senior citizens, one of them being the "yellow-bag problem."

Because senior citizens produce comparatively small amounts of waste materials, yellow plastic bags were available at reasonable prices to replace traditional garbage-can disposal. There was no additional charge for having them picked up by the sanitary service.

The price of the bags has risen gradually. They now cost $25.12 for a set of five.

But a new change is occurring this month. In addition to paying for the bags, I will be billed $17.86 to have Recology pick up a bag once every month, payable in advance.

I believe in conserving resources, for I was an environmental writer and editor. I recycle everything possible and live modestly. The in-sink disposal system takes care of some wet garbage. Any remaining small amounts of trash go into a yellow bag. Reviewing the notes I made in my desk calendar, I see I used only six bags in 2012 — that is, one every two months.

The bags are enormous, capable of holding 50 gallons of liquid, yet Recology has decided I must buy a new one for every month and must pay the company to pick it up every month. And I must pay even if no pick-up is made.

Several thousand senior residents must have received this bad news, and must be worried about how they can afford the extra expense.

The new charges are not listed anywhere on the sanitation service's website. Therefore, it looks as if some deliberate obfuscation is occurring and we seniors are being taken advantage of.

I have heard that Recology wants to close the bustling recycling center on Water Street. At this point there are only rumors of what will happen next, but one is that Recology is planning to make everyone pay for curb side pickup of everything.

It appears that an injection of governmental oversight is needed. Could the City Council please investigate? At the very least, the brand-new charges should be reduced.

Most of us can recognize greed when we see it. To misquote Pogo, we have met the enemy, and he is not us.

Constance Stallings

Ashland


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