Is the City Moving Toward a Single Trash Hauler?
published July 2015
With the adoption of the Sustainability Plan and accompanying Comp Plan by the City Council, Lakewood appears to be headed down the path of a single trash hauler. Both plans call for the City to implement policies for regulating individual trash hauling. To reduce household wastes the plan envisions the City requiring trash haulers to provide recycling services and/or implement a pay-as-you-throw trash collection program.
The Sustainability Plan anticipates implementing a program by either City ordinance or contracting with haulers. The model would be like the one implemented in Golden and rejected in Arvada. Golden contracted with one company and requires all residents to use only that company. Plan proponents argue a monopoly could lower prices (at least in the beginning).
Selecting a single hauler would be the discretion of the City. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine this system will select the politicians’ favorite company (does anyone smell campaign donations?).
The actual plan documents use vague and unclear language. In order to clarify the intent of the City, Ward 4 Councilmember David Wiechman (supported by Ward 1 Councilmember Ramey Johnson and Ward 3 Councilmember Pete Roybal) introduced a motion to amend the plans to ensure all regulation of trash haulers would only use voluntary compliance measures. This measure failed because Council wanted to retain the right to make participation in the single trash hauler program mandatory.
Although the plan starts with environmental conservation measures the document also delves into social engineering such as Goal SE1 - increase local food assets by 50% by 2025 or Goal SE2 - increase number of households above living wage standards by 15% by 2025.
These plans can be viewed on the City’s website at www.lakewood.org.
As noted above, questions have been raised about Mrs. Johnson's position on the Lakewood's Sustainability Plan. We found this article written in July of 2015, in which the Sustainability Plan was originally discussed and voted on. The article indicates Ramey voted against the Plan because it involved too much social engineering and advocated for a mandatory single trash hauler program. She supported a proposed amendment to clarify that any city managed single trash hauler plan must be voluntary, not mandatory. When this amendment was rejected, then she voted against the entire bill.