Baños was a candidate for Coral Gables City Commission in 2021 and currently sits on the City’s Budget Advisory Board.
It is garbage fee season in Coral Gables, the time when the City Beautiful graciously bestows upon all its residential property owners an invoice for the privilege of engaging in the most basic of government services: collecting our waste. Therefore, I thought it timely to share some of my thoughts on this topic.
This past July 7, 2021, the City Beautiful sponsored a City Commission Workshop on the topic of Solid Waste & Recycling. The event was well attended, providing a valuable insight on some of the nuances of the system that seamlessly eliminates the ugly in our lives, and tries to preserve the beauty of the neighborhoods.
However, although I will address other topics in the future, I would like to focus on the issue of green matter (plants, leaves, grass clippings) bulk collection from our garbage pits.
Commissioner Mena, and two other members of the Commission, seem to enthusiastically endorse the notion that this service should be ELIMINATED. Mena and the Mayor have both covered over their garbage pits, and today pay for their landscapers to haul away their green matter. They sing the praises of this panacea, and offer as a solution a $10 to $20 monthly reduction of our annual garbage fee to ameliorate the financial impact of this burden on our residents of this added costs on landscaping.
Their logic stems from an apparently benevolent goal. Commissioner Mena and the Mayor want to eliminate this service because the substantial monetary costs to the City endures to haul away green matter. In addition, it would reduce the potential for abuse due to the use of neighboring cities/areas of Coral Gables’ garbage pits to defray their own expenses of bulk collection.
However, instead of using enforcement as a way to curtail abuse, the solution of Mena and the Mayor is to take away a City service that I frankly consider part of the very core of what the City must do for our residents. Our lush greenery produces a great deal of waste.
Mena’s solution is to place IT ALL in my side yard until the gardener comes, and give me $20 for my trouble.
To that I say, NO THANK YOU. Other than Police and Fire, garbage collection is the most prominent and omnipresent City service we all have come to appreciate and love as part of the creature comforts that are key to what it means to be a Coral Gables resident.
As we will see, there is much room for improvement, but this solution deserves a long and painful death in some exploratory committee for boneheaded ideas.