The elected representatives of the people known as the Coventry Town Council faced a dilemma; what do we do with trash and recycling in the future.  They turned to the people and asked for input.  Then in a startling move, rejected what they heard and trashed the citizen input. One Town Council member wants to reverse the decision in favor of the citizen majority and is asking for another voice of the people to be heard at the June 7th Town Council meeting.

For months Coventry has faced the impending end to the current contract for trash and recycling pick-up.  The Town Council investigated new options and had no recommendation prior to running a poll to find out which proposal citizens preferred. The poll was widely mentioned in local publications and during Town Council meetings.   Citizens were given multiple options to choose from.  The input was overwhelming with 64% of the citizens preferring the use of tipper barrels for both trash and recycling. No other option received even 20%.

The Town Council in a split vote then chose to ignore the vast majority and continue the use of plastic bags for trash and institute tipper barrels for recycling.  Apparently those voting in favor of the bags do not care what the people want but rather what they want or think is best for the people.  This arrogance is abhorrent to those that believe in a representative democracy and the will of the majority.

Coventry is an old New England town founded before this nation during a time when Town Meetings were called to discuss government.  If 64% of the people in Coventry back then had wanted tipper barrels you can bet with a town meeting Coventry would have tipper barrels.  So much for tradition and citizen input in Coventry today it has been replaced by arrogance and elitism.

The Town Council minutes give some direct insight into the discussion before the vote

Mr. Hall said “This was chosen for the public good and was a public policy decision that was settled in town long ago.” According to the minutes “He (Mr. Hall) does not think this is a business decision, but a public policy once.”  He says it was settled long ago but then votes to change the recycling and not the trash seems Mr. Hall is a bit inconsistent here.

Let’s hear from Mr. Zenko “He has also heard that the current bins are problematic, causing overflows and having items get blown out of them and around the streets.” Then he added this comment, “It has also been pointed out that the barrels may pose problems for elderly or those who live farther back from the road.” So let’s see Mr. Zenko voted for trash bags but for barrels when it comes to recycling.  One would have to conclude based on his statements that trash blowing around from broken bags is acceptable but not recycle items coming out of a bin.  Further more it is objectionable to use a barrel for the elderly or for those living far off the road but ok for them if it is recycling materials.  Mr. Zenko seems a bit arrogant and inconsistent here.

Mr. Vinkels had little to say but it was interesting when he spoke and  said, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Somebody needs to tell Mr. Vinkels that when 64% of the people he represents think the system needs to be changed the system is broke and not serving his constituents the way they want or need.

The Chairperson offered no opinion or justification for her position but voted in the majority and seconded the motion.  Maybe she will listen or reconsider if citizens ask for a reconsideration of the question at the next Town Council meeting on Monday June 7.

Mrs. Blanchard spoke in favor of the citizen majority for using tipper barrels for both trash and recycling and said, “after reviewing the packet information; she sees this as the future trend.”  Mrs. Blanchard also showed her faith in the citizens commitment to recycling when she said, “She believes the waste stream would remain the same.” She voted against the motion.

Mr. Williams was particularly vocal in his support of the citizen majority and according to the minutes his position is clear “the whole bag system is horrible; it is the worst thing he has seen.  He does not feel the Town is telling the public the amount of money spent on implementing and maintaining the green bag system.” He also voted against the motion.

While Town Manager John Elsesser does not vote on the issue he did provide input, “Elsesser indicated the Council began talking about the trash options a long time ago and that the trend is to go to automated collection.  Some town’s only avenue for trash and recycling is the use of tipper barrels.  The Town’s current contract is coming to an end, so trash collection/recycling was put out to bid.

Mr. Williams is asking all citizens that would like to have tipper barrels for both trash and recycling to attend the Town Council Meeting on Monday June 7 at 7:00pm in the Town Hall Annex. Come and ask for a reconsideration to the motion before final action is taken for the new trash and recycling contract.

It is easy to speak during the audience of citizens.  All that need be said is something like, I am one of the 64% of the citizens that you ignored when you did not vote for tipper barrels for both trash and recycling and I want you to reconsider your vote.

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  1. Ed Leonard

    Coventry Town Council,
    You have ignored the voice of democracy, SHAME on you. We have voted and spoke volumes with the online poll.
    Get with the times, there is an obvious benefit to fully automated collection. It is easier for us residents as well as neater and cleaner for our town.
    Look around at your surrounding towns they see the obvious benefit to fully automated waste collection.

  2. Daniel Pace

    I watched the Clown Council on tv last night. The woman from Elllington who moved to Coventry was very well informed and obiviously did her homework. More than I can say for the Clown Council and Mr. Elsesser. Going to the tipper barrel system for trash and recycling is the only answer. Can’t the Clown council see what the surronding towns have done with success?

    Does anyone know if this issue can be re-visited by the Clown council?

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