, Gloucester, MA

October 19, 2012

Letter: Trash program bags city's nonprofits

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Gloucester’s many non-profit civic, religious, fraternal and social service organizations are under attack by their own city government.

Few of them realize it, but in April 2011, the City Council amended the Code of Ordinances to prohibit nonprofits from the curbside municipal trash program known as “Pay As You Throw” —a.k.a. the $2 purple Barney Bags.

Even though this is a fee-based program, these important social institutions serving the needs of Gloucester residents must now privately contract for their trash disposal, at a cost more than double what they were paying.

What’s worse is that the city has failed to enforce or even publicize the ordinance change, leaving city employees free rein to turn a blind eye to the groups they favor and punish the others by selectively sending out notices prohibiting their use of the purple trash bags.

What’s next for Gloucester nonprofits — the churches, fraternal organizations, the Lanesville Community Center, the Fishermen’s Wives Association, and all the other groups that are a part of the fabric of our city?

Will the city shut off their fee-based water supply and tell them to dig wells? Or shut off their fee-based sewer service and tell them to contract for private septic disposal?

It’s ridiculous to even consider that they be denied access to essential city services, and that includes trash collection.

Now is the time to call your city councilors to urge them to reconsider this ill-conceived ordinance. Make sure to include a call to Sefatia Romeo Theken, who chairs the Ordinance & Administration Committee that is currently reviewing the faulty implementation of this ordinance.