Las Vegas Sun

May 30, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Recycling plan cheats customers

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It is quite common here in the valley for people to contract lemmingitis. This disease, while not fatal, usually surfaces when elected officials force-feed them baloney until they become mind-numbingly intoxicated.

Such was the case with Republic Services’ recycling proposal. Many Clark County commissioners also contracted lemmingitis. Republic fed their political campaign coffers while placating their angst with the “revenue neutral” song.

Now that the county has succumbed, Las Vegas is next. No doubt that Republic is making money here, just not enough.

The public rarely gets to see all the facts, and in this case any relevant facts were shared primarily between Republic and some commissioners. This is a done deal.

Republic got a more profitable sweetheart deal, and the public got a service reduction, two new bins and the same bill.

Here’s what we lemmings don’t know and some won’t say. How much longer did the “good for us” contract have left to run? It matters because it provides negotiating leverage.

Automated waste trucks capable of simultaneously retrieving waste and recycling materials exist. If Republic uses these vehicles, its labor and operating costs could be cut by nearly 40 percent: three trips every two weeks, not four or five.

Was Republic’s contract term extended? What other provisions would allow Republic to automatically increase rates? Does this new grand bargain contain an option for competitive bids or is it strictly sole source? Why didn’t the state mandate that waste hauling, just like other essential utilities, come under the auspices of the Public Utilities Commission?

The devil really is in the details, isn’t he?

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