WESTMINSTER — In a political environment in which voters have made clear their desire for smaller government, even a centralized approach to trash collection is being viewed with a wary eye.
More than 100 people turned out at Westminster City Hall on Monday night, many of them there to condemn a plan that would give the city the responsibility for providing trash and recycling collection to Westminster’s 28, 000 single-family households.
Currently, more than a dozen private companies collect rubbish and recyclables curbside based on private arrangements between the companies and individual homeowners or homeowner associations. The proposed plan would have the city contract with a single waste collection company for that service.
Resident David Carpenter said he likes having a broad array of choices in trash haulers. When one sets their price too high, he shops around for a better deal.
“There’s a functioning market in trash already — why should City Council disrupt this?” he told the council. “Supporting recycling doesn’t mean a city takeover.”
Other speakers called the plan an example of “social engineering” and said it would help drive small haulers out of business. One woman demanded that the issue be put to a vote of the people.
The meeting Monday followed an equally fervent gathering two weeks ago, during which dozens took to the microphone to speak out against the single-hauler plan. The City Council hadn’t decided how it wanted to proceed on the issue as of press time.
“They don’t want the city telling them to do it, ” said Councilman Bruce Baker in an interview with The Denver Post before the meeting. “They’re saying, ‘Leave us alone. We’re doing fine.’”
Even if that means paying more for trash service privately than if it were provided through the city. Westminster’s projected prices for a city-run system range from $10.35 a month for bare-bones service — a 32-gallon trash can and a 96-gallon recycling tote — to more than $20 a month for 96 gallons of trash and recycling each.
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