DEBATE TONIGHT: Garbage Collection Outsourcing, New Parkland Purchases, Recycling Yard Waste to Be Topics

April 27, 2015 By:West U News Staff

Local News

Tonight will be the second of two West U City Council candidate debates.

The debate discussions will focus on questions about the outsourcing of trash collection, the possible purchase of more parkland and how to pay for it, and the possible recycling of yard waste.

There are eight candidates running for four city council positions. Former elected officials running for one of the four city council spots are former Mayors Burt Ballanfant and Bob Kelly, and former councilmember and Mayor Pro-Tem Steven Segal. The other candidates are Bruce Beneke, Sonny Brandtner, Brennan Reilly, Mardi Turner and Philip J. Snyder.

The forum is from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the West U Community Center, 6104 Auden. Refreshments, snacks and fellowship will follow the event.

Outsourcing of trash collection and other functions of the Public Works Department

Several of the candidates have said that the city council should study the “cost savings that might be realized by outsourcing and not rebuilding” the Public Works Maintenance Facility. Others feel that the cost may be similar but it would have a negative effect on city services to the residents.

Purchase of more parkland

For more than a decade, several of the candidates have been advocates for acquisition of the “Ownby tract” for parkland. This tract includes 38,553 square feet of real estate where Pittsburg terminates at Poor Farm Ditch. The two lots, 3615 Pittsburg and 3619 Pittsburg, have been for sale for $3.6 million. The overall cost of the land acquisition and capital development of this proposed park could be between $7-$10 million

Recycling of yard waste (or green waste)

West U used to recycle yard waste but stopped about a decade ago. Yard waste, commonly called green waste, is composed of grass, flower cuttings and hedge trimmings. The city stopped recycling yard waste because of cost. Most cities in our area (including Bellaire and Houston) recycle their yard waste. The possibility of re-establishing a yard waste recycling program will be discussed on Monday night.

5 Responses to “DEBATE TONIGHT: Garbage Collection Outsourcing, New Parkland Purchases, Recycling Yard Waste to Be Topics”

  1. Lucille Gallman Says:

    I appreciated West U residents riding the bus, like I did, to my job downtown especially if I had someone waiting at a bus stop with me. Burt Ballanfant was one of the regulars. I use to read while on the bus but occasionally visited with other West U riders, including Burt. It was really handy. I worked for Enron and leaving at 5:00 wasn’t guaranteed. I can remember some West U riders getting the bus driver to wait, especially if they saw me running to catch the bus. I was much younger and stronger back then.
    By the way, if you google “West University Place purchase Ownby Tract Pittsburg Street” you can revisit some of the discussions and comments made in all the available media going back to 2005. The argument for purchasing the property was that there might not be the same opportunity to acquire such a large tract of land for a park in the future. The argument against was the cost, which would be much more now, and the location. It is close to the ditch.
    If trash collection is outsourced, residents might not like it and there probably wouldn’t be any going back. The folks who worked for the city always went out of their way to help the people who live in West U. Using a commercial service confirms the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”

    • No Retreads for Council Says:

      That’s smart Lucile, Ballanfant rode the bus so I’m voting for him. Agree with you about trash service anyone who wants to privatize, should live outside for a while.

      • Lucille Gallman Says:

        At a recent family gathering and during a conversation about understanding how things work in the real world, I told my extended Bunker Hill family, that they would be more knowledgeable about how things are done if they had ever ridden a city bus. Of course I had to explain especially the way one member who returned in the past year from his service in Afghanistan was looking at me. The changes to the West University Place Elementary School are coming and since I have warm memories of attending the school as do my children, the first step to keeping it a neighborhood school is to elect people to the Council who have the personal and business experience to negotiate and enable the school and the whole block it sits on to operate the way it has for decades. I would think the neighborhood school is not the only thing at risk, but the land used for the West U Little League. I remember when my teen-age son was in the West University Little League, there wasn’t a senior team at the present location. Granted it was a big mistake for the 1928 city council to give the West University Independent School District to the Houston Independent School District, but the Great Depression was probably the cause.

  2. Rick Says:

    If paying Waste Management or some other responsible bidder is cheaper, and protected by insurance and performance bonds, why not?

    Vote for Bob Kelly. He’s smart and experienced (former Mayor, one of the best we’ve had).

    Don’t vote for Burt Ballanfant. He’s a jerk. We used to ride the same the same bus every morning and he never recognized his fellow West U riders. And he’s not very smart, in my opinion. Also, look for conflicts of interest in the local “newspapers” that show up uninvited on your lawn.

    • No Retreads for Council Says:

      Kelly smart ? While serving as Mayor, didn’t he date the city secretary ? Who was the mayor who instituted the wasteful lawsuit against the Marlowe builder ? Kelly and Ballanfant both had their hands in on that one. We should not be rewarding them. The city awarded a permit to the builder before trying to retract it. They then found themselves in a lawsuit with legal fees in excess of 6 figures before shelling out 400k to buy the contested lot and spending uknown dollars to clear it.

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