Dependable Erection

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Because the current system doesn't encourage enough people to dump their shit on the street, that's why

From the Herald-Sun:
Solid Waste Management Director Donald Long is telling elected officials he thinks it's "imperative" for Durham to emulate other North Carolina cities and begin charging residents a monthly collection fee for garbage and recycling.

Long said the move would enable his department to reduce its annual demand for property tax revenues, which in fiscal 2011-12 will cover $12.5 million of a $21.3 million budget.

One listserv correspondent wrote:
My initial response to this proposal is: What a terrible idea. We see how badly this fee-for-service system works with yard waste. When it became fee based, people opted out. To make garbage & recycling fee-for-service based in a community such as ours, with a 50% rental housing rate, is a recipe for disaster. What happens if residents don't pay the fee? Their garbage isn't picked up? Whose responsibility is it to see the fee is paid: the residents? The property owner? The property manager? If a resident moves, does their trash fee move with them or would they have to pay again at a new property? Who will insure that fees are paid and trash is collected for each household? What happens if a property manager or rental owner goes belly-up and these fees aren't paid? How will the current legislation pending that would prohibit rental registries and limit inspections impact problems with trash pick-up, non-payment of fees? What happens if owners decide not to pay? Who will clean up after the inevitable surge of illegal dumping? Handle complaints from businesses who find other people's garbage in their commercial bins? Will animal control increase their responses to rat and pest infestations?

Oh, you mean like this rental property at 110 E. Markham Ave?

Yeah, Durham really needs to give its shitty landlords more of an incentive to be fuckups.

(And out of curiosity, i'm not going to report this to One-Call. It's on the Roxboro side of the building, and i imagine that there are at least a couple of dozen city employees, and at least one or two council members, who drive past this pile of shit daily on their way home from work. Let's see how long it takes for one of them to report this.)

UPDATE 6/2: So the trash was gone when i checked at 8 pm last night. No idea if the landlords will be picking up the tipping fees (and penalties for mixing yard waste, electronics, and recyclables in with the busted up furniture and used paint containers), or if that privilege will be passed on to the schlubs who pay their taxes and sort their trash because it's the right thing to do.

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  • All of this shit used to be scattered all over their backyard (for the past six years), so I'm glad to see that someone grew a pair and decided to cleanup that hole.

    It does piss me off, however, that your and my tax dollars are paying to pickup all the piles of crap like this.

    Maybe it's time to start posting names, addresses, and phone numbers for crappy property owners and property managers. I don't think that they have any shame, so that's no likely to be a damned bit of good.

    The Fireball/Haskells, Bergman and Cherry Realty's - just to name a few low-hanging rotten fruit - all deserve a swift kick in the keister for the way that they treat this city and its citizens.

    Maybe we can all get together and file a class action lawsuit against them for decreased property values?

    By Blogger Steve Graff, at 4:48 PM  

  • @Steve-
    I long debated a Durham Landlord Hall of Shame, complete with little shit-colored certificates with gold stars to be mailed to the address of the property owner.

    I got lazy. But it's not for lack of material.

    About this property, it's been in the LDO as a repair-only since April 8th. It's my guess that NIS goes with the biggest case it can get and ignores the "little things" like this. Whether or not that's the best strategy, who knows.

    Also, I thought that bulk pickups instituted last year were supposed to take care of this. That all illegal set-outs would get collected anyways, with a fine going toward the property owner.

    By Blogger Rob Gillespie, at 6:14 PM  

  • Yeah, Rob, evidently i missed the fact that it's now legal to dump a pile of furniture on the street, mix it with yard waste, electronics, and paint cans, and have the city pick it up for the cost of a bulky item pickup.

    My bad.

    By Blogger Barry, at 6:20 PM  

  • @Barry-
    Not legal, but the city is supposed to pick it up and then fine the owner of the house/property where it was picked up. It was supposed to save money by not needing NIS inspectors to deal with the problem.

    Last I heard, they were having a large training of field supervisors so that the code enforcement/fine portion of it actually worked as it was designed.

    By Blogger Rob Gillespie, at 6:35 PM  

  • I'm not holding my breath.

    By Blogger Barry, at 6:45 PM  

  • Why isn't the garbage fee rolled into the water/sewer fees? That's the way it was in other (non-NC) cities I've lived in. That way every residence pays the garbage fee, either through the renter or through the landlord - whomever pays the water bill.

    By Blogger Photo Spread, at 9:55 AM  

  • I'd personally prefer to keep paying for garbage pickup through (tax deductible) property taxes, but as long as the service was mandatory, and not opt-in like the yard waste program, i suppose i could live with monthly billing.

    One problem that comes to mind, though, is how do you deal with delinquent payers? (This being Durham, it's a fair bet that at any time 10 - 15% of the customer base will be in arrears.) It's one thing to put a lock on someone's water meter; quite another to simply let their garbage pile up in front of the house. Plenty of other folks end up sharing the costs of that approach.

    By Blogger Barry, at 10:02 AM  

  • I agree, Barry. What will the city do to those that don't pay their bill? Will they let delinquent accounts slide, so as to save the neighbors from disgusting conditions? Or will they stop collection and make us deal with even more slumlord induced blight?

    By Blogger Rob Gillespie, at 1:22 PM  

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