By Sedona Vice Mayor Mark DiNunzio
Sedona AZ (February 24, 2016) – It will be seven years this July that I was appointed to the City Council in 2009. It has been quite a ride. I volunteered to be of service to a community of people that I had come to love. I dedicated myself to participate in municipal government as a servant and guardian, not as a governor or ruler. I pledged to listen; to study; to engage and to make decisions based not on what I thought or what I wanted but rather on facts, information and the will of the people.
More often than not there was more than one way evident to proceed. Always the questions were asked “What do the people want?” and “What is the will of the people?” When the peoples position clearly favored a particular conclusion, for me that was the course of action to be taken.
Over the seven years, there have been topics that had broad implications for the majority of us that stirred the citizenry to action. Taking ownership of Highway 89A in West Sedona was one. More recently, asking the federal government to declare greater Sedona a national monument was another. Based on citizen reaction to Council’s action, your City Council got the first one wrong and got the second one right.
Now we are confronted with the idea that turning our household trash collection and recycling effort over to the city and a chosen single company is better for us collectively. City staff has been directed by City Council to study the matter and report its findings to Council. Results of the study are expected to be presented in the near future.
As word of the issue became public knowledge, literally hundreds of residents, if not more, have written and called the city with direct feedback on the idea. The overwhelming majority of respondents to date have expressed opposition to the city government expanding its reach into trash collection service. Most write that they want to retain the choice of how and by whom their trash is collected and disposed of. For them, it is not a matter of personal benefit. They are against increased government rule.
As expressed, the position of limiting government and protecting individual freedom of choice seems consistent with the principles of our Community (General) Plan. It also reminds me that as a new city (incorporated in1988), our community and many of our community services existed long before there was a central government here. Our public library, animal humane society, adult community center and food bank are a few examples. All continue to serve us privately without government management.
Our strong voluntary and private sharing of our time, talents and treasure with others is deeply imbedded in our culture. We do not look to government to solve our problems or manage our lives. We willingly step up to the plate. It is our bedrock.
We are at our best when we are engaged in civic matters. I know from personal experience the time and energy it takes to be involved. I also know that the personal rewards of doing so far exceed the effort expended. I am grateful to all who are actively involved and I thank you. Please don’t ever change.
For me, it is not a coincidence that the trash issue and the energy that it has released in our community are happening now. It is perfect timing.
With the national and city elections soon to dominate the news for the next six to eight months, some might say that the trash Issue is divine intervention intended to awaken us. Awaken us to participate consciously, with heartfelt goodwill and a focus on principles and not personalities.
Together, we shall preserve our community. Together we can and will select representatives in the election who will serve us in the true spirit of the word.
This may be my last City Talk article before the election. I personally thank you for your kindness towards me and your good cheer as we have interacted in the last seven years. Please know that I am available to you and that I look forward to continuing to serve you now and in the future.
These words and positions are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the City Council or city staff.
Absolutely splendid! I wrote you a ltter which I thought was pretty good (!) but you say it better.
Promise me — you will never ever step down!!!
I think the belief that government is bad is horse feathers. Every city I have lived in previously managed trash collection. No one suffered. This does not affect me, as a private management decides my fate ( oppressively) but I get to hear every truck that rumbles up Shelby.
So, I’m fine with sane city management. So there.
Thank you Mark. Although it has been said that revenue generation for the city is not why the city is pursuing this, the next council, or maybe the next may see it as a way to generate extra funds to be used elsewhere. This happened in Carmel CA. When the contract was up, the city council chose the hauler that would provide them with the best “revenue sharing.” Thus everyone’s rates went up. Once we go down this path, it is very difficult to undue the city’s control.
It is strange that they are not including business trash hauling in the deal. Why just the residents?
Thanks for listening to the residents Mark.
I commend you on your point of view. We don’t need to add another layer of things for the city to do. Already the trash companies do the job of handling the billing directly to their customers. Having the city involved would require them to do the billing which is a wasted duplication of effort.
Secondly, having the choice of which company I want to take care of my trash service uses the free enterprise system which our country is founded on, and allows competition flourish. This tends to keep improve service at a lessor cost.
It is my understanding in talking to two people who were on the focus group on this issue was that the whole thing was handled more like a promotional event to sway their thinking rather than take their thoughts into consideration. Not a good way to conduct business.
This idea of the city “promoting” their ideas and giving lip service to residents’ comments has been plaguing me for some time. The so called listening sessions seem to be a mere formality after the council has made up its mind. I spoke repeatedly over the years against raising sewer rates, all to no avail.
Each council that is elected by the people, seems to forget who put them there and feel that they “know best” what is right for the city and ignore the wishes of the residents.
Elections are coming. Let’s ask the candidates where they stand vs the city and the chamber of commerce.
Well said Mark!
Notwithstanding city claims to the contrary, I fear that the agenda here is to create another revenue generator for the city which ultimately will result in ever increasing rates for trash collection.
Garbage Collection is not the business the city should be in. All of the “advantages” that the city is giving for a reason to take over the garbage collection fall far short of their goals in our tourist town.
Lower rates – It won’t happen starting with the $40,000 position that would be created to manage this.
Less noise – What 2 truck trips rather than 5 per week? Local businesses will continue without regulation and ATVs and helicopters continue too…..
Less air pollution – 3 less trucks trips….still have 100’s of 1,000s of visitors and their vehicles spewing pollution
Road damage – the trucks have multiple axles and tires to offset loads on streets
Bulk pick-up We do not need it. Sears and Home Depot will pick up washers and dryers for a small fee if you buy a new one. PAWS will pick up furniture FREE
Better Service – Taylor already aims to please. Waste MGN charges a variable fee for fuel and charges extra for picking up an extra bag outside of the can.
VOCA does not control garbage pick up. They have a choice.
HOAs – Mystic lets people chose. Vista Montana does not let people chose. Why? Because they have extra large containers available to residents by the pool and other locations.
Not sure from the letter if Mark Dinunzio would vote yes or no. Either way consider those of us who choose to reside outside the city limits in greater Sedona. Mandating one provider for Sedona may well impact our choices . Will all the current providers still service the Village, Red Rock Loop and the Canyon? And will city residents have the choice to opt out and take care of their own trash?