There Should Be No Charge For A Second Lawton Trash Can
I don't know if you had the same experience growing up, but before mortgage lenders, banks, Wall Street, and the automakers made government bailouts a standard business practice, the biggest talking point surrounding government handouts in every small town was the United States Postal Service.
This was a time when Americans still communicated through the mail. We paid bills by mailing checks. We sent greetings and well-wishes to each other. We even ordered music, 12 cd's for a penny, that would eventually arrive via the mail... so when the yearly reports of lost revenue would come out as the reason the USPS had to raise the price of a stamp by a cent or two, the overwhelming popular opinion was "Let it fail."
I shared that sentiment for a while too, and while I still feel that way about mortgage lenders, banks, Wall Street, automakers, etc... I no longer feel that way about USPS and there's a good explanation why.
Our postal service is a service. Services cost money, it's why we pay our taxes.
I understand that people still think the postal service should turn a profit, but if you compare the shipping rates of the USPS with those of FedEx, UPS, DHL, and other parcel services, we'd all be howling about how stupid-expensive it was.
So what does mail have to do with Lawton's trash service? The fact that they're both necessary government services that cost money, but the difference is Lawton is trying to bank a profit off of this civil service in the most regressive way possible. Not a total shocker having put a bunch of small-business owners in office to make these decisions.
After cutting the trash service from twice-weekly to just once per week because that was easier than installing a little leadership to run the department, our leaders have just assumed that Lawton would make half as much trash to compensate for their bad decisions.
We're just over one year of the new trash service and citizens are still bitter about it. It just doesn't work for the average home in Lawton.
The simple fix for the obvious problem is to offer a second trash can. Our elected officials are far from bright minds, but even they saw this easy solution... but as it always does, their small-business acumen decided to toss a wrench in the system.
Quick math... If Lawton has a little over 33,000 occupied homes, what is the monthly take on renting out an extra trash can to every home at $5.28 per month? Just north of $174,000.00 and I can't imagine where that money would be spent (cough, cough, FISTA).
Here's the rub... Refuse collection is a service. It is paid for as included in the water bill, along with other additional charges that are included in that water bill that pays for itemized spending.
Open your recent bill, you'll see charges for things like water use, purchase, pumping, treatment, and waste, plus a $7.50-ish slush fund for municipal vehicle purchasing and maintenance. Our collective tax dollars have already purchased these trash cans, why does our city council insist on making a profit to charge for an additional one?
One year after Lawton's trash failure, the fix is still stupid-simple. Two trash cans per home.
I know it seems like a petty thing, I constantly see stuff all the time about "Well my town only has once-a-week trash pickup..." on social media, but it's rarely an apples-to-apples comparison. That second trash can will gain importance in the coming months as the city continues down a path it just hopped on.
Back in January the council voted on a measure to start issuing fines for things like overloaded trash cans. Since trash collection has been such a touchy subject since cutting the service in April 2021, and even our politicians weren't willing to dig their own graves just yet, they voted against the fines for now.
Instead, they've started to play the long-con with citizens through a program called "Bag and Tie So Trash Won't Fly." The idea is to encourage people not to litter... and as time goes on, they'll have everything they need to justify issuing fines to even the most ordinary citizens of Lawton. It's a move so fiscally brilliant that you'd almost guess they opted to cut trash service just to fund FISTA with garbage money... but I suspect it was the lack of leadership thing the refuse workers complain about when we chat.
Call your city councilor and demand your service either be restored or that the second trash can be made available for free.