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The anonymous allegations made recently in Word of Mouth against Mayor Smith and Glen Thompson of Arrow Refuse concerning the mayor's ad hoc bear committee findings are false and unfair.
First of all, as an ad hoc committee, we have no authority to spend money, pass ordinances or enact regulations. Our job is to provide the mayor, city manager and assembly with a list of suggestions. From the moment we hand them our findings, the power is theirs to act upon or discard our recommendations.
As far as the makeup of the committee, the members (with the exception of one person) are the same individuals I had suggested be asked to serve on the committee. My conclusions were based upon each person's obvious qualifications and unique perspectives concerning the present urban bear problem - there are no connections as alleged between the committee, the mayor and Arrow Refuse. Simply put, if there is to be a workable solution to the problem we have been tasked to help solve, it is then imperative that Arrow Refuse be involved in the process.
I must make this next point absolutely clear: Mr. Thompson of Arrow Refuse was not the originator of the idea to make garbage collection mandatory throughout the borough and he did not vote on any motion that dealt with making garbage service mandatory or those dealing with enclosure-container use. The mandatory service idea is one I put forward and a majority of the committee supported it. In fact, Mr. Thompson has expressed many times a willingness to do business in new and novel ways to ensure fair costs and increase service options in order to help fix the urban bear/garbage situation.
The idea of making identification of everyone's garbage containers-lids mandatory is one of mine. It makes sense and it helps the police and you by not requiring them to knock on your door at 3 a.m. to issue a ticket. Instead, they can leave the ticket on the container just as the would a car. Having your name and address on the cans and lids will also help in their recovery after our frequent windstorms.
We have addressed the issue of fines as well. A maximum fine of $300 is on the books, but the municipal Title 36 needs to be reworked to target garbage offenders and help citizens understand what kind of enclosures and containers are required and to specify what time waste may be put out for collection.
In the end, what the comments show is that there is an incomplete understanding of the municipal government process and of the urban bear/garbage situation. This is something that all of us on the committee want to help change and we welcome everyone to check up on the committee's progress at www.juneaubears.com and to attend our four upcoming public hearings (dates and times to be announced soon). They are being designed to help citizens understand the committee's findings and to provide an open forum for discussion of our ideas and those of the community.