Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stupidest City Council EVER

$3.5 million for radio-equipped wheeled recycling carts
-- majority supports while $28 million deficit swells --
New Council member Greg Harris addresses Council budget
deficit with $3,500,000 in high-tech recycling carts
This is just too good; we can’t make this stuff up!

We know this is disrespectful to our elected officials. We know we should restrain ourselves. We know this is the time when we are all supposed to be lowering the vitriol and learning how to get along – right?

But is there any other way to respond to Monday’s Committee vote? As the Enquirer reports here, City Council was supposed to meet Monday to put the finishing touches on painful cuts and layoffs to balance the City budget that is $28 million out of whack.

Instead, a majority of the nine fine fools voted to spend $3.5 million to lease high-tech recycling carts with radio transmitters. We are not kidding. We could not make this stuff up if we tried.

The radio-equipped recycling bins are designed to report automatically on who is recycling and who is not, allowing the City to incentivize those who recycle and punish those who do not. (It’s both weird and “Big Brother” all over again.)

Let’s briefly review the history of how we got into this ridiculous budget position. First, in late 2008, in the midst of the worst economic downturn in recent memory, bureaucrats backed by UC economists projected the City would see an increase in revenue of 8%. By May, City officials realized their error, projecting instead a 4% decline, resulting in a $20 million deficit. By July, that 2009 deficit had grown to $28 million and the projected 2010 deficit was over $45 million.

Instead of making real cuts, in June a Council majority violated their own rules to spend down reserves by $10 million and promised savings from furloughs of an additional $4.5 million.

Over the coming few weeks, the City’s four major labor unions sequentially rejected the furlough idea, showing that all of the City’s budget savings were illusory.

Then, since Council could not impose any fiscal discipline of its own, the City Manager announced he would unilaterally decide on the $28 million in budget cuts, primarily through layoffs. That layoff plan was first supposed to be unveiled two weeks ago, and then again this week. On Monday, as the Big Brother recycling bin plan received preliminary Council approval, the City Manager again deferred identifying layoff announcements.

Each day that passes without layoffs, the City’s budget picture worsens.

Supporting the ridiculous proposal were Council members Greg Harris, Roxanne Qualls, David Crowley, Cecil Thomas, and Laketa Cole. Standing against the almost indescribably stupidity were Council members Chris Bortz, Chris Monzel, Leslie Ghiz and Jeff Berding.

For no reason other than that we want to single him out for ridicule over his foolish budget votes, and now this ridiculous expenditure on self-monitoring recycling bins, please e-mail or call (352-5303) Council member Greg Harris. Tell him your thoughts.


  1. Thanks for once again showing us that COAST has absolutely no understanding of modern technology. These so-called "high-tech recycling carts with radio transmitters" are actually equipped with low-tech RFID chips. These chips are commonly used for tracking inventory in retail stores or in electronic toll collection devices such as EZ-Pass. Don't try to make it sound like the city is using some extravagant new technology.

    On the topic of calling this technoogy "weird and 'Big Brother'" -- It's certainly not any more "big brother" than modern utility meters which can also be read via radio frequency, so that Duke or Water Works employees don't have to physically enter your home to read your meter. It actually increases your privacy, since you don't have to allow a stranger into your home. COAST should be praising such a system, which saves meter readers' time and therefore saves the city and our utilities money.

    Finally, how do you respond to this blog post from Roxanne Qualls which claims that this recycling program would actually save the city $20,000 in 2009 and $240,000 in 2010, and create 36 new jobs in the process?

  2. Actually a majority of the eight members of city council's finance committee voted to send the measure to city council. City council never voted on the measure, as Mayor Mallory took it off of the agenda. As it is his job to set city council's agenda, he's postponed measure until the budget situation improves.

    See? You can make this stuff up! You just did!

  3. Hello People, I was on a holiday for a month just passing by read this interesting post its great to see that every thing here is getting more lively...thanks a lot for these keep them coming....


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  4. Well, what do you know. According to the Cincinnati Business Courier, the new recycling program has already saved the city $900,000 (and boosted recycling participation rates in the process.)



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