Atascadero city officials need to consider their constituents finances

OPINION by BRAD GOODROW

Atascadero city leaders have identified a budget problem, they can’t operate within theirs. Have they looked at cutting back or placing contracts out to bid to lower costs for their residents? No, they are focused on increasing tax revenue but not cutting their costs.

That’s why Atascadero voters are being asked at the Nov. 3 election to increase the sales tax — which will double the city’s sales tax revenue, and increase costs for anyone who shops in Atascadero. This is less about serving the citizens and more about generating money for a city that cannot make ends meet.

The coronavirus has caused many people in our community to struggle to pay their bills. And in a time like this, we need to work together to lower the cost of living, not increase it.

Recently, Mayor Heather Moreno voiced her distaste for putting Atascadero’s trash hauling contract out to bid. What else has she not put out to bid?

But there are incredible advantages to giving local companies the opportunity to serve their neighbors. First, it would lead to lower costs for Atascaderans. Second, City Hall could require the creation of a buy-back center for recyclables – another revenue stream for our residents.

The timing is perfect, the city can make three one-year extensions to the current waste hauling contract, while they research going out to bid.

It would be best for Atascadero ratepayers for the city to exercise its first one-year extension and launch a bidding process to test the water.

Doesn’t sound scary, does it?

What is scary is never undergoing a competitive bidding process on one of – if not the largest – contract the city executes.

This, all while claiming to have the residents’ best interest at hand, as City Hall seeks to raise their taxes again?

They do know what they’ll get by raising taxes on your groceries, gas, and clothes. That’s why they’re asking you to pinch your pocketbook on Nov. 3.

As a trash hauler who lives in the North County and proudly supports Atascadero small businesses each and every day, I am confident that putting the contract out to bid would lower monthly costs for residents while adding a center where they can redeem money for their cans and bottles.

While Atascadero city leaders extol the virtues of local, small businesses, they continue to issue a no-bid contract to the largest waste company in North America.

It’s true: the city currently contracts with an out-of-state conglomerate that has sponsored events for elected officials while refusing to provide key recycling services to Atascadero.

I have repeatedly implored city officials to explore a competitive bidding process at the end of the current contract, which ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

I am not asking them to hand us the contract, but to approve the trash hauling company that provides the public with the best services at the best price.

Instead of giving Atascadero residents the best option, they have given us a number of excuses: they have no staff time to handle the process and that the process is too expensive and not worth the risks.

A bidding consultant isn’t an expense you – the taxpayer – pays. It’s a cost that the winning bidder pays.

It’s time that Atascadero put its residents and their pocketbooks first. In times like these, we should expect nothing less.

Brad Goodrow is a long-time Creston resident and the owner of Midstate Solid Waste & Recycling.

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