Two hot topics on the local radar screen are generating quite a bit of interest. The first is the possibility of replacing trash bags with trash cans on wheels.
With the current trash collection contract with J. P. Mascaro due to expire in December, officials from the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill have been meeting to put together a future plan. A plan that could also contain include recycling.
Bags have advantages and trash cans on wheels have advantages. Bags are convenient but using trash cans, in these days of trash-haulers with automatic pickers that lift the cans and dump the trash right into the truck, could be less expensive.
Bags store easily but are not as secure as trash cans. In some instances, bags are easier to handle than trash cans. The entire bag is taken by the trash hauler, the can could stay on the sidewalk for some time.
Concerns vary from senior citizens to young families and from single-family to multi-resident homes. The pros and cons go on and on and the proposed solution needs to be vetted properly.
Officials are still in the planning stage, so let your borough officials know of any concern or support you may have. Hopefully it will help them make the right decision.
The second topic on the screen is the ongoing tension within the Upper Perk Police Commission and the saga of who is or isn't a bully.
The correct answer is that there shouldn't be any bully on a body that represents the people – especially in the area of public safety.
The topic of policing, drug usage and other public safety issues affect the entire community – not just one, two or three municipalities. If there is a meeting to discuss these issues in the community it should be an open invitation to representatives from all of the communities. Excluding one or two is not a smart way to ease tensions.
Elected officials should be qualified before they take a position. If they're not, then by being elected they automatically accept the responsibility to learn what their responsibilities are. Reading and studying the Commonwealth and borough codes regarding those responsibilities may take you more time, but it's less expensive. Relying only on the word of a lawyer should reinforce what you already know or suspect, and not be a learning experience. After all, lawyers disagree with each other at times. Who's right and who's wrong? You live here and know the people; your solicitor may not.
Effective communication was an excellent tool used not too many years ago, that worked to create a nearly tension-free family of local governments in our region. There was no 'me' or 'I,' and information was shared throughout the month. Local officials avoided "surprises" at the monthly meetings and liked to stay on top of things.
In these days of emails and social media, it should be easier to share than in the days of personal visits and phone calls.
Sharing information as early as possible helped officials formulate thoughts, opinions and possible resolutions long before they had do so at the meeting table and it created far less confrontations.
Good people give up many hours to serve the public as local, elected officials. They are dedicated and we, the public, should actively offer them our thoughts and opinions on how to make things better when an issue arises.
The best way is to communicate.