Editorial: Time to fend for ourselves

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. wants the town to begin hauling its own municipal  solid waste.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. wants the town to begin hauling its own municipal solid waste.

If you had an annual expense of paying a provider for an essential service that had grown at a 15.45 percent clip in less than five years, and was projected to go up another 15 percent in two years, you’d look for another solution.

One way to go might be to think about taking on that service yourself. And after you crunched numbers down to pennies, painstakingly examining all aspects of a plan, and found you’d not only save money but actually make some if you ditched the service provider and did it yourself, you’d be a fool not to start rolling up your sleeves.

This is exactly what Highway Commissioner Jay Card Jr. is faced with and what he’s done to change the course of an essential service that is draining the finances of his department and the town’s overall budget.

Those above percentages are what it’s costing and will cost the town to haul municipal solid waste (MSW) off-Island — the stuff most of us put in town bags to take to the Recycling Center — by paying a private hauling service. Mr. Card has done his homework,  estimating the cost of equipment for the town to go into business for itself, looking at how much New York State will help foot the bills, factoring in labor, fuel and ferry fees and securing a favorable tipping fee price from nearby Southold.

With the revenue the Recycling Center generates, and the savings built in to self-hauling, the town actually would be making money off trash in five years.

What is needed now is action by the Town Board to pull the trigger on this minutely researched and detail-oriented plan. Mr. Card has been before the board several times, informing members about the work of his department and the processes of the Recycling Center. Recently he broke down the numbers of  what it would cost  for the town to embark on self-hauling in a presentation to the board. But he was just politely thanked for his efforts, receiving almost no feedback and less commitment to his idea.

It’s true that Supervisor Dougherty was on vacation when Mr. Card made his presentation. But now that the board is back at full strength there should be some action, including an invitation to the  public to weigh in, on what would seem to be a solution to budget woes without using the power of taxation.

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