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By Staff
Garbage service is right for city
Editor,
We are writing in response to last week's letter to the editor entitled "Fire department, not trash, a priority."
While its author, Mr. Dowdy, has been steadily vocal in his opposition to the city's decision to begin collecting trash once again, we respectfully could not disagree more. The two issues are entirely separate matters and cannot be logically compared.
As longtime volunteers in keeping our neighborhood clean, we appreciate Mayor Tankersley's leadership and council's action to tackle the trash and yard waste collection issue. In our opinion, the move is a big step in the right direction in making our city look even better than before, further enhancing our city's image.
As senior citizens, we especially like having the easy-to-use wheeled collection bins, especially the bin for yard waste. This program will be infinitely better than having trash piles sitting all over the city for indefinite periods of time.
We trust the new system will become second nature for all residents and are hopeful the existing trash piles by the streets and roads will soon become a thing of the past.
What was not mentioned last week in Mr. Dowdy's "researched" letter is that the monthly refuse collection fee is projected to cover all the costs associated with garbage and yard waste collection, including new collection bins (which have 10-year guarantees) and the building of a new transfer station.
In fact, the city has built in a projected surplus that will be used to offset expected and unexpected future needs of the garbage collection program.
Unlike building, equipping, and the personnel costs of a new fire station, the city can charge a fee for trash collection that is financially self-sufficient.
In fairness, that fact should not have been completely overlooked and omitted.
Regarding a new fire station, we are in agreement that it would be great to have another fire station as well as the equipment and manpower to make us all safer, but that requires money year-in and year-out…forever.
If the city of Hartselle had additional and/or greater revenue sources, perhaps that can become a reality someday. Unfortunately, the city leaders cannot arbitrarily enact a "fee for service" when it comes to fire and police protection, infrastructure, etc.
There are many demands on the city's budget, but keep in mind that our fair city, on a percentage basis, has the lowest property tax base in the state–something that will not change without wide support.
Meanwhile, we encourage the city leaders to explore and pursue, where practical and possible, new economic development opportunities that will continue to improve the quality of life for all citizens.
Again, we applaud Mayor Tankersley and the city council for taking steps to enhance our city's cleanliness and overall appearance. In the relatively short year and a half that this administration has been in office, it has been successful in identifying and obtaining funding sources for several very important projects in the city.
With that record of accomplishment, perhaps other issues of weight can likewise be addressed and funded in the near future.
We believe Hartselle is a wonderful city and are grateful for all it offers us.
S.M. and Jeanette McAllister
Hartselle

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