NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
Again, I am forever amazed at the garbage we in Norman have to go through with this city. (Excuse the pun).
Some real facts as I have be able to determine. First of all this recycle deal was shoved down the throats of Norman residents in 2007. Fast tracked for a special election vote on May 8th, (guaranteeing a low turn out). The contract process was a joke because as I recall our own sanitation dept was not even allowed to bid.
The contract accepted was even worse. Now, most involved with that contract say “Well the city council approved it”. First of all the 72 percent in favor of the recycle vote is technically correct. However misleading. It was 72 percent of those that voted.
There were over 110,000 Norman residents at the time of the vote... 6,673 for, 2,690 against. Interesting to note many of the votes came from campus districts and the west side of Norman. Approx 8 percent of Norman residents voted. Now follow me here. There were no restrictions on who could vote, even though this $3 per month only affected those who owned or lived in a house. For argument sake, say half that voted for this in no way would ever be affected in the $3 per month increase since they lived in dorms, apartments, townhouses, etc.
So (drum roll) 4 percent of Normanites voted for this. ( A little less than 72 percent.) I am still in shock that the city agreed with the language of the contract. Waste Management group was given the responsibility to monitor the numbers on how many homes actually used the service. I believe that 40 percent was the last report they gave.
Checked my area. Only a 100 house sample ... Two percent were using. Big surprise. When asked, utilities group said that is what was in the contract. Why? And why if city agreed with their numbers did the take their own samples over the life of this contract?
Now how do we get better? One, encouraging the city council, mayor , city manager all involved in this new contract to take a big Sooner step back. Suggestion 1. For 30 days, allow anyone who wishes to become a part of this to sign up for the charge and pickup for the duration of the new contract (3,4,5 years, whatever is decided.) Once you sign up you are locked in. Repost the bid process for the numbers that sign up. As a starting point. ... Simple to administer for the pick up people. See container, pick it up. If and when additional people may want to sign up, have language in the contract to address that and reimburse recycle folks accordingly. Not too difficult. In the new contract language, utilize city workers, volunteers, whoever to check and see usage rates for recycle pick up, so that the city is not being overcharged. Just an a idea.