I have been to the public discussions of the proposed budget. I plan to attend another today. I hope there is more accomplished today than there was at the others. The plan presented to the Council includes a 2005 proposed budget and a 2006 projected budget. There has been much discussion about a 1 cent increase in the tax rate for 2005 which includes 1/4 cent to keep the city transit system at about the same level of funding that it is now. That is, if the federal money that is being used for transit now is not forthcoming for the 2005 budget. (I'm not sure what will happen to the 1/4 cent if the federal money arrives).
There has been very little discussion about a much larger tax increase projected for 2006. Most of this increase is due to the cost of closing the White Street Landfill to household trash and building and operating a transfer station in a location far from the present dump site.
Several briefings ago the city heard a proposal from a private waste disposal company. The Council decided that a city-owned facility was a better plan, even if it cost more in the beginning, because if the city controlled the disposal system, they could control cost better. I think the Council made a good decision not to sub-out trash disposal.
In addition to my concerns about the cost of the transfer station and transportation and disposal of household waste, I think that allowing a private company to pick up our trash and take it to a landfill out of our area or out of state is a bad idea. I keep reading that these private dumps are not regulated as well as our own landfill and besides, why should we make our trash some other community's problem. A regional solution to our own trash seems like a much better idea.
Back to the Greensboro City Budget. - Someone needs to start talking about spending for next year in time to do a better job of spending taxpayers money. This last minute business of pretending to want to keep the cost of government down is not productive. Better planning and less grandstanding is a better way to run our city.