Curbside Trash Pickup
By Thomas Morrone CFP®, CPA
I have lived in four different towns in Connecticut during my lifetime. Each of those municipalities provided curbside trash pickup on a weekly basis. No big deal or is it? Because I always had this service available I probably have taken this for granted. Frankly I know I have. Growing up in East Haven as a kid, in addition to trash pickup, my dad had built a small incinerator in the back yard out of cinderblocks and would burn some of the trash on a regular basis. Looking back on that now, I wish I could ask my dad why he went through that effort because he still would schlep the trash cans to the curb that had the garbage. Maybe this was his attempt to reduce trash at the landfill and help our planet be a little less trashy. I think he just liked to burn things. Maybe he had a little pyromaniac in him that he inevitably passed to me. That is another story all together.
So as an adult, when I am talking with someone that does not have this service available in their town, I realize how much I take it for granted. They need to haul their own trash to the local landfill. They also need to sort it by type, pay a dumping fee and take the time out of their schedule to do this task. It was part of their Saturday morning chores. Of course, there is the option is to pay for this service through a private company; which many people do.
Over the years I have been amazed what the town sanitation workers have hauled away from the front of my homes. After cleaning out the attic or garage I would pile up all those things at the curb that should have been thrown away long ago. It would not matter what it was, it would be gone after the town truck came through. I would joke with Cathy that if you stood by the curb too long you would end up in the back of the trash truck. Many times, someone would make the rounds on trash night to see what was at people’s curbs. Someone’s trash could be someone’s treasure. The recycling aspect came into the picture some time ago and this put some effort on the homeowner but again no big deal.
I am not naive and understand that this service is not offered through the generosity of the town. The cost is built into the property tax system. But many towns have a very high mill rate to calculate their property tax and do not offer this service. So, I will be grateful for what I have, while I have it. Thank you to all the sanitation workers out there for a job that is well done.
My dad would be burning the trash no matter what services were offered by the town.
Until the next Tom's Take...