Yates: Fountain Hills single-hauler lesson could be helpful for Paradise Valley

In 2011 there was an intense debate in Fountain Hills to reform trash collection. Voices were raised.

Cecil Yates

Tensions were high. And, there was plenty of high-profile opposition. I understand a similar debate is now going on in Paradise Valley.

I wanted to provide some information about how well the reform has worked in Fountain Hills, as Paradise Valley decides its own case.

Nearly seven years ago our town council made the right call and made the reforms needed to reduce costs, noise, pollution, and damage to our roads. As a candidate for town council, I supported this reform. As a member of the town council, I am glad this reform passed as it has been proven to be the right decision. As a candidate for mayor, I am prominently touting the program as helpful to our improved quality of life.

As the debate became intense at time, it would have been easy to simply keep the status quo. Instead, the Fountain Hills Town Council decided to stop the chaos of the old trash collection system and adopt a better system that brought our residents consistent trash pick-up days, lower rates, and an overall standardized system for the majority of our households.

We also saw a reduction in garbage truck traffic, cutting down on noise and pollution.

These benefits were questioned but turned out to be true. I applaud those who supported this reform. We were on the right side of history, and now all of our residents enjoy the success of the service!

In fact, I am aware of a recent poll that shows that more than 74 percent of our residents feel it was a good decision to reform trash collection through an agreement with Republic Services. The poll also notes Fountain Hills residents would rather vote for someone who supports the reformed trash pickup service rather than someone who wants to go back to the old way with more trucks and cost.

A total of 87.29 percent back the new system meanwhile 12.71 percent support the old way of doing business. As someone who stood for this change, the results are gratifying, backed up by what I see and hear every day from our residents.

Back in 2011 the decision to reform trash collection in Fountain Hills had to be made. We had multiple trash service companies picking up garbage almost every day of the week. Trash always seemed to be curbside.  This was bad for our roads, bad for the environment, and bad for our residents’ quality of life. Those problems have been solved and the service is now embraced.

I have always admired Paradise Valley. Like Fountain Hills, its beauty is obvious. I am in no way trying to direct you what to do, but only sharing our experience. Just as we all learn from past mistakes, our past successes in Fountain Hills might be instructive for residents and leaders in Paradise Valley.

I wish the town well as it considers both sides of the issue and appreciate the chance to share my point of view.

Editor’s note: Mr. Yates is a member of Fountain Hills Town Council

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