Letter to the editor: City owes residents an explanation for continued shutdown of recycling collection

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Thanks to Sumter Councilors Gifford Shaw (who is my Councilor) and Calvin Hastie for voting against the proposed increase in garbage collection fees for city residents.

An increase, the first in nine years, means we would be paying more for less service, as recycling collection has still not resumed in the city after its last hiatus due to a staff shortage. Recycling collection was halted at the height of the pandemic for more than a year, resuming in April 2021, then halted again in early January this year. The reasons given at the time were a shortage of labor due to illness, paid holidays and unfilled jobs.

With many businesses now able to hire as more people are vaccinated and COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed, I believe the city owes the public an explanation as to why recycling collection continues to be a problem here.

Admittedly, we do not specifically pay for recycling. But because the recycling truck is no longer in use, which means there are no gas costs and maintenance costs, and also the salaries of the employees if they have not been revamped, wouldn’t the city save money right now? by not collecting recycling? If so, why the proposed increase in the “roll cart” rubbish collection fee? The city’s recycling centers also do not take aluminum, glass or plastic items.

The city has been doing a good job lately trying to clean our streets and waterways of litter by hiring new litter officers and implementing new programs and community cleanups, but we haven’t heard anything lately about the resumption of waste collection. Let’s not give people an excuse to throw recyclables out of their vehicles if they know they can’t dispose of them properly at home anyway. It would compound a problem the city has been trying to alleviate for years in order to attract industry and new jobs.



To Mayor Merchant and City Council, please push for recycling to resume.

MELANIE SMITH

Summer

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