Council chair either kidding or considers his constituents to be fools

To the editor:

After reading County Council Chairman Steve Stenger’s remarks in a recent article reporting the results of bidding for county trash collections contracts, I concluded that he must be kidding — either that or he considers his constituents to be fools.

Mr. Stenger enthusiastically joined the side of those opposing the county’s effort to reduce the cost of trash collection — a plan which also added recycling service and significantly reduced the number of heavy, noisy trash trucks traveling through our neighborhoods.

So what happened when the program proved to be an even bigger success in terms of price reduction for his constituents over the next five years? Mr. Stenger made the ridiculous claim that it was south county’s opposition to the program that played a substantial role in bringing down prices here.

Perhaps Mr. Stenger needs to review the facts.

The trash haulers had plenty of advance notice concerning the County Council’s plan to implement its trash-district program. Instead of reacting by drastically reducing their prices to the individual customers, the trash haulers had their lobbyists push to get legislation passed that could be retroactively applied against the county in order to protect their lucrative business model in the event the program was implemented. Of course, when the program was implemented, the sore losers in the competition initiated a barrage of lawsuits against the county’s program in an effort to restore the status quo, i.e., price gouging due to the individual customer’s lack of buying power.

The opposition, led by Mr. Stenger, continues to support the lawsuits, which, if successful, would allow the return of price gouging. Therefore, it is completely illogical to claim that the opposition helped bring about lower prices.

On the other hand, I have to give credit to Mr. Stenger for pointing out that the taxpayers will be on the hook if the county is forced to pay a multimillion dollar settlement in one of the pending cases.

I also wonder how many of the opponents of the trash-district program are happy with all the lawsuits against the county, but complain when the firefighters’ union uses the same tactic against the Mehlville Fire Protection District board in an effort to protect its status quo.

It would seem to me that in both instances, the taxpayer is at risk if the lawsuits prevail.

Gerald M. Kulage