Advanced Disposal Tuesday story

Trucks from Advanced Disposal enter and exit the Citrus County Landfill in April. 

THE ISSUE:

Board workshop yields no consensus on garbage collection.

OUR OPINION:

Paralysis by analysis?


The future of garbage collection in Citrus County seems as cloudy today as it did 30 years ago when discussions of universal garbage collection first surfaced.

Since then, the commission has discussed the issue, taken public input, commissioned studies, and generally dithered.

And today, at least one commissioner doesn’t want to move forward with universal collection and the other four can’t agree on which direction to go in establishing it.

The board’s recent workshop was intended to establish what the board wants and doesn’t want in a universal collection system, but it ended with virtually no real decision and a request to county staff to develop more information for the commission to consider.

This seems almost like a replay of previous discussions of universal collection, only with different players and different ideas, but still the same outcome.

After years of discussion, almost two years ago that the commission finally agreed in a workshop to start the three-year clock notifying haulers that the county was planning to go to universal collection. But then a month later, when faced with a row of haulers in the audience, the commission refused to start the clock.

At the time, commissioners said they need more questions answered before moving forward.

Earlier this year, the commission voted to start the three-year clock, and the recent workshop was designed to help commissioners settle on which of the options for universal collection they preferred.

However, at the end of the workshop the outcome was the same as in previous discussions: No consensus and no decision. Commissioners have more questions — and even a suggestion that the board set a criteria for what it wanted to accomplish with universal collection.

At the risk of sounding naive, it seems like after 30 years of discussions, multiple commission workshops, professional landfill studies and the decision to move forward with universal collection, the commission would have some idea of what it wants to accomplish.

While having a clear focus on what the system should accomplish is an admirable goal, and answering questions is a valid exercise, these can also be delaying tactics to avoid making politically difficult decisions.

There is a term called “paralysis by analysis” that refers to seeing a situation as overly complicated, with too many options, so that it is continually analyzed and a final decision is never made.

We hope the commission has not reached this point on universal garbage collection and that they will develop a clear focus and move forward with a program for universal collection. There is still plenty of time to make a decision, but reaching a decision and implementing it will take some collective backbone, because whatever decision they reach will be unpopular with some voters.

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