We appreciate that the Town of Clayton stands ready to help downtown merchants better manage their trash. But we also think the merchants are perfectly capable of accomplishing that task on their own.
The Clayton Downtown Development Association rightly observes that downtown has too many unsightly Dumpsters in too many high-profile places. That’s a predictable result of each merchant being free to choose his or her garbage hauler.
The good news is that with the help of a few tax dollars, the DDA is ready to shield the Dumpsters with what we’ll call Dumpster blinds for lack of a better term. Also, Town Hall appears willing to take the legal steps that would allow it to provide services, including trash collection, downtown.
But if the idea is to farm out downtown trash collection to a single private contractor, then the town’s offer, while appreciated, is unnecessary. Merchants are free to come together and settle on a single contractor themselves.
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It’s not that we’re afraid Town Hall as middleman would add substantially to the cost of garbage collection, though we assume the town would include the cost of bill processing in any contract it negotiated with a private hauler.
But creating a downtown service district would set a precedent. If Clayton said yes to downtown, it might face pressure to yes to businesses elsewhere – on U.S. 70 Business for example. And if Clayton had to say yes often enough, it would have no choice but to grow government to provide services that businesses have so far been able to procure themselves.
So we would encourage downtown merchants to come together to choose a waste hauler that can meet their trash needs affordably, efficiently and aesthetically. We see no need for a middleman here and fear the precedent downtown would set if it turned to the town to provide a service merchants could easily secure themselves.