Thursday, December 15, 2016

Discussions continue on ‘SMART’ trash collection in Mt. Lebanon | The Almanac UPDATED 2X

A guest blogger who wishes to remain anonymous asked me to post this. If you have a post you would like me to share, email me at EGillen476@aol.com

Are people getting the message yet? Probably not!!!

"Baram asked commissioners to not use the $20,000 in the 2016 budget to “engage the community for the input needed to customize a possible program,” with the hope of spending it in 2017 for educational purposes."

NOT ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY FOR INPUT-- of course not! Better to use the $20,000 for indoctrination.

Discussions continue on ‘SMART’ trash collection in Mt. Lebanon

Then there is this from your blog:

"Mr. Meduho,
To continue to expend staff time to provide a response to numbers that are subject to change is an inefficient and fiscally irresponsible use of taxpayer funds, therefore there will be no further response to these requests."

In other words... they'll tell us what they want us to know when they're good and ready and not before.

Coupled with your RTK case and it's obvious who works for who.

Update December 15, 2016 2:39 PM Receipt for commissioners' pre-meeting meal. $119.50 for Lebo Subs.

Update December 16, 2016 6:58 AM The comment from Not Too Smart at 6:15 AM got me thinking about snow removal. This idea could save the municipality millions too. Will we get a tax decrease for saving Mt. Lebanon millions? Yeah, like that will happen. A reduction in services while our taxes increase is how our commissioners think. Our SMART commissioners will vote for it!

37 comments:

E. T. Gillen said...

I chose not to blog about this because if the commissioners want it, it shall be. We don't really have a say in anything.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

A little background: Dave Brumfield is against PAYT. SMART may be a different story. He said he would never vote for sharpshooting in Mt. Lebanon. He is such a turncoat. My guess is that it will go through and the "savings" will go into more turf or killing more deer. Or spend it on more Lebo Subs. I will attach the receipt for $119.50 in an update.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Paying for what you throw away seems to make sense given the fact we are ruining the earth... In Germany, you are given a certain amount you are allowed to throw away (based on your family size and other factors) and you may elect to pay to throw out more than you were allotted. Seems to make perfect sense.

Jason Margolis said...

I agree with 5:27pm. SMART makes sense.

I do not agree with the excessive consumption of Italian subs. That is one of the least healthy subs. 3 of our commissioners just took a few weeks off their life with excessive nitrates.

Not to smart said...

give us a bag of salt & we could salt our own roads - - with the potential of saving money, mostly effecting the municipality’s money and not that of residents. not to smart

Anonymous said...

Any cost associated w/ garbage collection should be absorbed by the municipality, not passed on to the taxpayers. Taxpayers already pay for garbage collection. If MTL wants to adopt individual garbage collection pricing, taxpayers should expect an elimination of their current garbage collection fees. MTL Commission spins this as an earth-friendly program- which it may be, but to expect taxpayers to foot the bill for both garbage collection programs without political consequence is both offensive and foolish. Will taxpayers need to purchase their custom garbage bags from Susan Morgans at the municipal building between 8-4 M-F? Will the revenue collected for the program be used in its entirety to fund the program? Or will some (or all) be siphoned off for other programs? Another example of money-grubbing at its sneakiest by the MTL Commission.

- Zeke the Plumber

Anonymous said...

I'll be leaving my garbage at the Rec Center or other area dumpsters. When that no longer becomes feasible, I'll just throw it over the hillside somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Zeke... the money will go to "Unassigned Funds". Sometimes the commission can find a lot of cash there for things like artificial turf.

E. T. Gillen said...

I hope people do more than just vent here. Don't count on me to do something. I have been told countless times by the haters that I have no credibility, I'm always on the wrong side of an issue, or that I "effect little change." It's a wonder that I can make it through the day! The commissioners ignore anyone who questions them. The manager has cut off communication with some folks.

So you can write to the commissioners, speak during citizens comments, protest, or go to court. IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.
The five commissioners, who some like to remind us that they are our neighbors, just want us to bend over and take it.

If the commissioners want to have control of what we want to throw away, they'll do it. This is supposed to start in 2018. Brumfield will be long gone, and with some luck Steve Silverman will be gone too. These guys don't care what happens after they leave. They'll stick it to us any way they can.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

One quick note about the commissioners being given taxpayer funded meals. It states in the home rule charter:

"Commissioners shall receive no other compensation, direct or indirect, for the performance of their duties; they shall receive no pensions or other forms of fringe benefits."

Under IRS guidelines, meals are considered a fringe benefit.

Nick M.

Anonymous said...

Who gets the Lebo Sub Points ?

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Meduho,
To continue to expend staff time to provide a response to numbers that are subject to change is an inefficient and fiscally irresponsible use of taxpayer funds, therefore there will be no further response to these requests."

Huh. Looks like some people over there have all had the "life is too short for this nonsense" moment. In these comments Mr. Meduho is portraying a hoagie as corruption.

I'm sure had Elaine won a seat she would not accept any food, hoagie or otherwise, as tacit compensation. She also would answer every constituent, quickly and politely, regardless of nicknames, insults, or insinuations. We all bear witness to her steely consistency.

Anonymous said...

""Baram asked commissioners to not use the $20,000 in the 2016 budget to “engage the community for the input needed to customize a possible [SMART] program,” with the hope of spending it in 2017 for educational purposes."

First question, why do the commissioners need $20,000 to "engage the community for input?"

Don't they hold regular open meetings where residents get to speak and ask questions that are free? (Or are they now planning to charge admission to commission meetings as a source of revenue?)

Second question. We have a community magazine that goes out to each and every household that "cost the municipality nothing" and also The Almanac and Post Gazette that dispense Lebo propaganda for free, so what would they need $20,000 for "educational purposes?"

What are they going to do, create and run award-winning TV commercials on how to bag garbage? Maybe more of those silly "Look Up Lebo" banners.

E. T. Gillen said...

8:18 AM, do you remember the frame shop at Lebanon Shops? The owner said that members of the school board would ask her for a discount because they were on the school board. Business was bad, but she honored their requests. On the other hand,
Dan Miller will never let you pay for his meal or coffee. It doesn't matter how much it is. As I learned through my journeys, granting govt. sponsored killers access to your private property or public lands is a donation, regardless of its value. In this case, $120 worth of hoagies is still compensation for their duties.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Hello 8:18, thank you for your reply to my post, I'm grateful that Elaine provides a platform that gives us an opportunity to share our thoughts, opinions and ask questions.

As resident taxpayers, we have an absolute right to know how every dollar in our community is being spent. My inquiries to Mr. McGill were regarding the upcoming budget and I asked for specific breakdowns for service level 1 amounts. For example, I wanted a breakdown on Public Works in the amount of $270,660, the $252,010 for General Management and the $283,810 for Information Services. That's as far as I got until Mr. McGill thought he would shut me off from any more inquiries. As a note, more than likely the service level 1 amounts that I was inquiring about won't change. I did reply to Mr. McGill with the question "How can I ask exploratory questions if I don’t have the numbers up front?" I was planning on attending the meeting this past week to ask specific questions but the weather made it impossible.

If the attitude of any elected or appointed official is in your words 8:18, "life is too short for this nonsense" when it comes to serving the taxpayers, then they should step down immediately. What if our roads didn't get salted overnight or this morning because public works thought life is too short for this nonsense?

As far as providing meals to the commissioners 8:18, the rules are the rules. If you're not going to abide by what is written in the home rule charter, then you might as well just tear it up.

Thanks again 8:18.

Nick M.

Anonymous said...

The State dropped registration stickers to save millions of dollars with the burden placed on police forces. http://triblive.com/local/valleynewsdispatch/11577087-74/police-plate-license
Mount Lebanon will save millions of dollars with the burden place on residents. By reducing Municipal services will in fact save millions of dollars but at what cost to residents ? Which service will be cut next ?


Jason Margolis said...

It's a shame there is no trust in the local government here that the savings will be returned to taxpayers via a reduction in taxes. All other parts of this program make sense. In another municipality, it would be a no-brainer. However, here in MTL, with a 51% majority believing they are entitled to their government-funded Goon Squads and Temples of Nonsense, I understand the cynicism.

Anonymous said...

Government funded deer management + Non-Government funded waste management = Lunacy.

Anonymous said...

At least you've come to the rightful conclusion that your positions aren't those of the majority. It's a Christmas miracle!

E. T. Gillen said...

4:28 PM, did you submit that while attending Dan Miller's Unity Rally? What did Michelle Obama say? "We are feeling what not having hope feels like."
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Says the Trump voter...

When they go low, Lebo Citizens goes high! It's what your readership expects. Carry on that legacy. Enjoy your break.

E. T. Gillen said...

7:23 PM, the Trump voter didn't say that. Michelle Obama is my First Lady too, you know.
Elaine

E. T. Gillen said...

Thank you, 7:23 PM. I will. And Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Think about this Mt. Lebanon! Why does Baram not want public input on the PAYT program.

"Baram asked commissioners to not use the $20,000 in the 2016 budget to “engage the community for the input needed to customize a possible program,” with the hope of spending it in 2017 for educational purposes."

Are you suppose to automatically approving just because they renamed it SMART? Looks like a shell game to me .

Think about this if you believe our commissioners are truly worried about the impact of our trash on the environment.

We already participate in a mandated Pay As You Throw program... it's called a used tire disposal fee.

Now then, this fee was implemented to assure that our toxic used tires didn't find their way into our landfills. A good thing to save the earth right?!

So what did our environmentally conscious commissioners do?

Why only buy back 20,000 toxic used tires in the form of crumb rubber and spread them over our crown jewel sports field for our kids to play on and leach into our ground water.

So forgive me if I suspect the commissioners have motives other than saving our planet from our trash.

Anonymous said...

Here's a little test to see how committed our commissioners are in reducing the amount of garbage we send to landfills.

How about instituting receiving a printed copy of MTL magazine subscription based! Sort of a Pay As You Receive (PAYR) program.

Keep the online version free and I'll bet they'll modify our behavior to be more environmentally responsible in short order.

Think about how many trees that will be saved since they won't be used to make paper. How much ink and solvents used to wash up printing presses won't be flowing into our sewer systems.

Seriously, I'm all in to take steps to reduce waste, but I believe the key is reducing waste before it gets into the home rather than after.

Returnable bottles, reusable grocery bags, online magazines, minimal product packaging are all earth-friendly ideas for instance.

The study below is a good read.


"Conclusion This paper has used original data gathered from individual households to estimate responses to the implementation of a price per bag of garbage. We find that households reduced the number of bags, but not necessarily the actual weight of their garbage. Thus households stomped on their garbage to reduce their costs. They also increased the weight of recycling, and they might have increased illegal dumping. The reduction in weight of garbage at the curb is 14 percent. If we account for the amount of illegal dumping, using our lower estimate, then the true reduction in garbage is only 10 percent. Recycling increased by 16 percent. Many in Charlottesville were already participating in the voluntary recycling program before unit pricing began. Thus the incremental benefit of unit pricing is small. In our simple comparison, this social benefit does not cover the administrative cost."

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/07/trash-talk.html

Notice last sentence in the above conclusion: "thus the incremental benefit of unit pricing is small, in our simple comparison, this social benefit does not cover the administrative costs."

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your candid comment at 7:23, Elaine. Michelle Obama is your first lady and mine. And, what a class act she has been. I appreciate your giving credit where credit is due.

Nita

Anonymous said...

Zeke at 12:42 makes a good point. I would hate to see some large amount of money given to the muni for the purported reason of environmental improvements when it will actually be used to style Ms. Morgans' hair.

B.

E. T. Gillen said...

Nita, I originally gave credit to First Lady Michelle Obama, but as usual, the trolls like to give my comments a negative spin. Thanks for your kind words, Nita.
Elaine

Anonymous said...

Some math on our garbage composition. Please check my math please.

According to my dusty, trusty postal scale the Oct. 2016 issue of MTL magazine weighs 6 ounces.

The magazine claims it goes out to each and every Mt. Lebanon household-- whether they want it or not.
So approximately every issue sends 81,660 ounces or rather 5,103 lbs of paper to our houses each month. 10 times a year adds up to 51,030 lbs.

That's 51,030 lbs of paper and ink we must send to a landfill or recycle per year.

Add in The Almanac (approx. 3 ozs/issue) which gets dropped in our yards or driveways like it or not and you can add another 20,000 lbs to the MTL trash pile.

I'll do my SMART. part to reduce waste and save the environment... I'll read both online when and where I wish.

There I reduced my carbon footprint.

Anonymous said...

Baram has been duped by this commission and as they wear him down, more of his statements will seem more outlandish. This is a predictable process. My sympathies are with Baram. His intentions were good. He just doesn't see the big picture.

Merry Christmas, Elaine.

Anonymous said...

I do not know Baram and I'm sure as with almost all of our elected officials and board volunteers they truly started out with the best intentions.

As I know Elaine you've done with your dedication to this blog .

This quote though may be a good message to those good people.

"And good intentions? These scared him the most: people with good intentions tended not to question themselves. And people who didn't question themselves, in the scientific world and beyond, were the ones to watch out for.
Shanthi Sekaran, Lucky Boy

Perhaps this community might be less divided and more 'unified' if we questioned not only those "good intentioned individuals on the other side of an issue but ourselves as well.

I'll close with another quote:

"God bless us, every one" —Tiny Tim

Anonymous said...

Why am I getting a sense that once the discussion turns to something like the municipality biting the bullet on cutting waste like the magazine going paperless, that once they can't win the debate they go into dark mode. Once that happens it's only a matter of time until they proceed with their initial plan.
Anyone concur?

RG said...

"A minor revolution would date from the day when officials came to realize that reputation is more readily to be won by saving money than by spending it"... C. Northcote Parkinson

Unfortunately, our well intentioned municipal officials have no stomach for becoming a Parkinson revolutionary because they don't believe there is anything in the budget to cut, and they also believe that what they do is for "our own good."

"...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience"...C. S. Lewis

Anonymous said...

Well put RG.
It would be interesting to see how much pain our public servants felt if any, in the form of pay freezes, layoffs, pension cuts, healthcare insurance increases or perks and travel restrictions.

Anonymous said...

(lost text from 5:33 comment) ... during the recession that started in 2009.

Anonymous said...

SMART???

Save energy: Don't recycle
Machine Design
Jul 13, 2006
Some people buy hybrid cars to save energy.

— Leland Teschler, Editor

As for me, I do my part by not recycling paper, glass, or plastic.

Well, at least not at the curbside. The occasional Boy Scout paper drive may be economically defensible. But sending around city trucks to pick up glass, paper, and plastic actually consumes more energy than it saves. And it may even pollute the air more than just pitching this stuff in the trash.

A little thought shows why. It takes as many trucks to collect perhaps four to eight pounds of recyclables that a typical household generates as it does to pickup the 40 pounds of refuse created by the same residence. This reality creates situations as have emerged in the city of Los Angeles, where officials now figure the city's fleet of garbage trucks is twice as large as it would be without recycling, 800 rather than 400 trucks. Similar economics are at work in cities everywhere.

The issue has been closely examined by the Franklin Associates Div. of the Eastern Research Group. Franklin has for years prepared the national characterization of municipal solid waste published by the U.S. EPA. It also has looked at the cost per ton of handling recyclables through curbside pickup. One of Franklin's conclusions is that curbside recycling typically costs 55% more than simple disposal because it consumes huge amounts of capital and labor per pound of recycled material. Recycling proponents sometimes claim that curbside recycling is worthwhile because it conserves space in landfills. The mayor of my own community once remarked approvingly about how his recycling program had reduced tippage fees for landfill use. What he did not mention was that the recycling program was subsidized out of tax receipts. Its true cost far exceeded any savings. But this sort of dishonesty is common among local administrators trying to justify actions they think will keep them in office.

There is another problem with conserving landfill space: We have plenty of landfill capacity and there is no reason to conserve it. Claims of a landfill shortage are based on a 1980s study that the EPA acknowledges was flawed. It counted the number of landfills, which was in fact shrinking, rather than landfill capacity, which was and is still growing. So today, the U.S. has more landfill capacity than ever before, according to the National Solid Waste Management Association.

The bad economics of curbside recycling contrast with those of industrial recycling. Private-sector material reclamation can be superefficient. Printers that produce magazines like MACHINE DESIGN, for example, bale up their scrap paper and sell it back to reprocessors, often by the boxcar load. Big users of glass, metals, and plastics all have analogous procedures in place.

Still, curbside recycling might make sense someday. You'll know that day has come when someone knocks on your door and offers to pay you for your paper and plastic."

SO FAR I DON'T SEE ANY SUGGESTION BY THE COMMISSIONERS TO DO THAT.

http://m.machinedesign.com/archive/save-energy-dont-recycle

RG said...

Still, curbside recycling might make sense someday. You'll know that day has come when someone knocks on your door and offers to pay you for your paper and plastic."

This post (December 28, 2016 at 3:09 PM) is very interesting. The last sentence, quoted above, reminded me that we on the west side of Leboland have a "professional trash picker" who drives around the neighborhood on trash day eve in a box truck, looking for items he can recycle or otherwise use. (He may work other parts of town - I don't know.) People on my street are wise to the guy, and put out items that would otherwise be verboten; such as TV sets, old computers, old washing machines, etc. My guess is that he renders old computer circuit boards for the gold, extracts copper from old motors, etc.

I was told that what this guy does is illegal in Mt. Lebanon. I haven't bothered to find out, but I do know that the guy provides a FREE trash service that benefits the consumer and him.