Wed 29 Oct 2008
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I’ve pushed for not only greater transparency in our governance but greater inclusiveness. Chapel Hill has an incredibly talented community well worth listening to, that is why I’ll be asking Council, again, to reconstitute the citizen budget advisory board to assist in identifying efficiencies and spending reductions to get us through next year.
Listening to a concern without following through, investigating deeper, doesn’t make sense.
The other night at the Preserve Rural Orange meeting a gentleman that used to work for our Town suggested someone look into the potential increased fuel costs associated with shipping Chapel Hill’s waste to Hillsborough or Highway 54. He told me that the garbage trucks of his era had been geared in such a way that long-haul operations were , when compared to in-town service, inefficient by a factor of two or more.
I ask a lot of questions, frequently seek out expertise, to better understand the issues before our Town. I find that Council and advisory board minutes, attending numerous meetings and doing my own research doesn’t necessarily reveal underlying problems or solutions – reaching out for input is part of my process.
In some cases, like getting records documenting our Town’s energy and water usage, years go by without any response.
Many times, though, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Orange County and University staff turn an answer around immediately. I appreciate the time and effort they take to answer citizen concerns – even when the concern is moot.
For instance, Harv Howard, Chapel Hill’s Superintendent Solid Waste/Fleet Maintenance Services, took on the issue of garbage truck gearing:
At a community meeting I attended this evening, a fellow citizen told me that Chapel Hill’s garbage trucks were geared in such a fashion that they could operate effectively on hills but would have terrible mileage running long hauls. His comment came from his concern about siting the new solid waste transfer site. I had asked the Town several years ago about any additional fuel costs associated with trucking waste out-of-town. My understanding that the trucks were roughly as efficient in long and short hauls. Has there been an evaluation of that cost? Is it true we will be burning double the diesel running these trucks up to Hillsborough or out to Hwy 54?
Harv responded within hours:
Dear Mr. Raymond,
Chapel Hill’s Solid Waste Fleet used to be “geared” as your fellow citizen informed you. However, they have not been so beginning with the 2000 fleet replacements. The current fleet is able to efficiently operate in town or over the road. Your understanding that the trucks are roughly as efficient in long and short hauls is correct to some extent.
We have not concluded our full evaluations of the pending transfer station proposed locations.
The fleet would start and end each day at the TOC. It’s everything in the middle that has to be evaluated. What makes perfect sense as a route starting point now, could change depending on location of the transfer station.
Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.
Superintendent Solid Waste/Fleet Maintenance Services
Public Works Department
Thanks Harv. Good to know, one, that the trucks won’t cost twice as much to operate and, two, that you plan to follow up with a cost analysis once the solid waste transfer site is selected.