Update 7/11/2022 (10 am) - The agenda for tonight's meeting was finally posted for public review on Monday 7/11/2022, you can review it here. which is in conflict with the Sunshine Act (link here to learn more about the Sunshine Act) which requires the agenda of any public meeting where action can be taken to be posted 24 hours before the meeting. Upon review, we noted this topic is absent from the Agenda and will not be a topic at tonight's meeting. Residents are still encouraged to discuss this topic with Council as they consider it for future discussions at some point. You can listen to the entire conversation on this topic here, trash conversation starts around 1:07. You can also review the agenda for last week's meeting here.
Update 7/11/2022 (11:45 am) - Karen Bramblett was kind enough to respond to our email with this response. "Because of the inadvertent failure to post the agenda 24 hours in advance, we will meet as scheduled, and recess until a date certain, in order to comply with the statute. That date certain will be determined today, after availability of all participants is ascertained."
Plymouth Meeting, PA - On Monday, July 11, 2022, Plymouth Council is set to do away with one of the longest-standing items that sets Plymouth Township apart from all other Townships, twice a week trash pick-up.
This item was discussed along with a few other unpopular topics during the July Council Workshop on Tuesday, July 5. Local Councils will tackle unpopular topics in the summer months when residents are away on vacation, this is a very common thing to happen across the nation and not limited to Plymouth. As someone who follows Council, each year they tackle some unpopular item.
This summer's unpopular topics include taking away twice-a-week trash collection and banning plastic bags (more on that later). Citing increased a hope to reduce workers' compensation incidents impacting workers getting on/off the truck along with decreasing traffic on our streets and lowering the consumption of fuel as reasons for the cutbacks. No data was shared with the public to support these reasons so they are unable to be verified.
My observation of the conversation leads me to believe Council seemed ready to go all in, offering little to no push back to the idea. Council members mentioned summer months would be tricky and smelly for residents as they now only have 1 trash pick-up and there was a conversation about holidays and how they would be dealt with. Council also discussed the negative PR they would receive and seemed to think they could do it, and eventually, residents will accept it and move on.
What I observed as absent from the conversation was questioning why we would remove this service and not another alternative. Please note,those options may have been discussed at another time as Council is not the most forthcoming and open with those in attendance as attendees of the general public are not offered access to the same data and handouts Council receives, and the public is also not allowed to speak in a Council Workshop. This lack of access to information makes it hard for an attendee to follow all of the pre-meeting conversations they are clearly in the know about.
There was no discussion of eliminating or reducing weekly yard waste collection in off-seasons. There was no discussion on what the Township workers will be doing with the shift in time, will they focus on other topics or are we eliminating a large part of our identity for little benefit? Will this lead to a decrease in the productivity of our Township staff?
I heard no discussion about hard-cited facts about the reduced rate or costs of workers' compensation claims, what is the likely hood of reduction if we take this drastic measure? Is our insurance company recommending this action? Are they offering us a discount or incentive off of our premium if we enact such a measure? What have other townships of a similar size seen in terms of frequency reduction when eliminating twice a week pick up? What are the average costs of an injury when getting on/off of a truck? How many averages lost days are there when such an injury occurs? Who came up with this idea to begin with?
If we do not implement this idea, what are the impacts? Will our taxes go up? Will we have to hire additional people to cover someone on leave?
Our Township Manager did comment that we will still be paying to dispose of the same tonnage and make the same number of trips to the dump (same fees and fuel there),
This proposal was last discussed in 2012 and was so unpopular with residents that it was shelved.
Now, I love thinking outside the box. Here are some of the alternatives I would like to see explored before a vote is taken:
Do we need yard waste every week? Many months during the off-season I see the crew drive down my street and they might make 1 or 2 pick-ups. Why don't we cut this service to only peek months, or as needed in the off months like after an ice storm or weather event that causes a lot of debris? I can leave a stack of branches for a few weeks waiting for pick up, I really do not want my leftover grilled fish hanging with me one more summer day than it needs to.
Maybe we only do once-a-week trash pick-up during the winter? With cooler temps, the stinky trash can hang for a few more days, but can it really hand in July? Doesn't that just make us like the city?
If you want to voice your opinion on this topic you have 1 chance to do so. You must attend the Council Meeting in person at the Greater Plymouth Community Center on Monday, July 11, 2022. The meeting starts at 7p. The agenda for this meeting has not been posted as of 11:25p on Sunday, July 10, 2022, here is the screenshot showing no agenda.
If you cannot attend the meeting in person, you should email your council member to voice your support or concern for such action, here is the link to their email addresses.
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