Published October 10. 2012 4:00AM
Elected leaders in Montville are bravely taking on one of the most controversial of issues found in many smaller Connecticut communities - trash collection.
No, really. As is the case with many smaller towns, Montville has a long tradition of leaving this responsibility up to the individual. Home owners and landlords can either hire one of the private trash haulers that provide service in Montville or pay the $55 permit fee ($45 for seniors) to haul their own trash to the Transfer Station. Elected leaders mess with this tradition at their peril. Many home owners enjoy the control they exercise in picking who carts away their trash and at what price. And many of those who choose to haul their own trash cherish the Yankee individuality and frugality of that option, to say nothing of the social aspect of meeting folks at the "dump." It becomes one of life's comfortable routines.
But because that's the way it has always been done, does not mean that's the best way to do it. It could well be that for the vast majority of residents it would be cheaper for the town to bid and award the contracts for trash collection and roll the cost into the tax rate. The town already provides curbside pickup for recyclables in that manner.
Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel Jr. reports the town has received three bids from trash hauling companies to provide collection. The town is evaluating the bids. The information will provide a clear indication of what this service would cost in new taxes, and compare it with what residents are paying their own private haulers now.
Also, if curbside pickup is available for all, it eliminates the need to accept household garbage at the transfer station, eliminating the cost to the town of hauling it to the facility in Preston, where the garbage is burned to generate electricity.
Montville voters, in a referendum, could make the final decision, but in the meantime town officials are making the right move by assessing the options.