Every year Amherst, like many other communities across Nova Scotia, hosts a pickup of garbage and debris that tends to collect over time from homes around the town. However, it seems as though every year the town finds itself going back time and time again picking up materials from residents who either missed the collection day or are trying to cheat the system.
This game of pare and thrust was back in the municipal spotlight earlier this week when several town councilors expressed frustration at the fact registered letters were sent out to those residents who left garbage at the street after the collection period had ended, while other councilors vented at having to go back every year and revisit this policy.
The winter of 2013-14 will go down in the record books as having been one of the harshest in recent memory. There was a lot of snow and it stayed much longer than usual. Because of this, some people found it difficult to get to the yards, garages and basements cleaned up and there were a number of residents who missed the collection deadline for a legitimate reason.
That being said, there are some residents who take advantage of the system and will continue to leave junk at the end of their driveway because they know at the end of the day the town will cave and have it picked up at taxpayer expense.
A clean community is important, but the town cannot continue to go back every year and clean up the mess and expect taxpayers who followed the policy to foot the bill. Residents have to be prepared to take responsibility for their action, or inaction, and should be prepared to pay the price of having the collector go around, pick up the material and dispose of it at the landfill.
We expect municipal leaders to be good stewards of our tax dollars and we are usually pretty quick to criticize when they spend money on things we feel are wasteful. Having to go back to clean up something again and again would be an example of a poor use of taxpayers’ dollars.
Perhaps the cleanup needs to be pushed later into May, but people have to understand that eventually they are going to have to ante up if they miss the deadline or find another way to cart what’s left at the curb to the landfill themselves.