Friday, June 7, 2013

Why Can't My City Be More Like My County?

(Warning: Video has bad language!)

Related story at Freedom Bunker.

"Why can't the city be more like the county?"

I asked that question of a City Councilman just a few months ago.  Councilman Marshall W. Stair was representing an insurance company as their lawyer, and after we wrapped everything up, he gave me his City Council business card and asked if there was anything my little community needed in the way of city services.  I replied, "Why can't you do less?"

Just off the top of my head, trash service came to mind.  Out in the county one has a choice between competing trash companies.  The county does not even try to pick up your trash.  Waste Management will pick up your trash every week, for a fee, and they are from Texas!  If you like, you can take it to a county run trash collection center (limited to one pickup truck load per day).  Sure, I would be happier of the county got out of the trash business all together, but at least I should have a choice in whose truck is coming by to empty the can, and one of those choices should include me.

When I was flying in the National Guard here, one of my fellow Officers owned a trash collection business in Chattanooga.  Sounded pretty easy to setup.  Just one truck, that was not outrageously expensive.  I forgot how many people he hired.  He ended up selling his business to a competing company, for what sounded like a decent profit too.  There is paperwork, of course.  Even a hot dog cart here required three licenses and a periodical health inspection certificate, so I am not sure what number to multiply four by to cover taking away things people don't want anymore, vs. giving them something they do want.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, I attended the same church as a woman who owned AAA Trash, a very successful company that competed with BFI and Waste Management.  Her firm was there long before I arrived, and I am sure it is still there. It appeared to do nothing but grow.

What choice do we have in the city?  They put out a bid and one big company wins, then they pick up all the trash until time to recompete the contract.  How do the wife and I pay for it?  Out of the various taxes we pay as city dwellers, on top of the taxes we pay as county dwellers.  We really have no idea exactly how much we are paying for that "service", since the cost is hidden in our already high taxes.  The notion that if the government does not pick up your trash, nobody will, is pure rubbish.

The next item I mentioned was the police force.  There are two towns in this county, and only one of them has its own cops.  Mine.  I used to live in the other one, Farragut, TN, and they rely on the Sheriff's department, the same one that ALL of us pay for anyway because we are all county residents too who pay county taxes.  By the way, there is plenty of county that is not in any town or city and the Sheriff's department covers them just fine too.

Mr. Stair's position was that people who choose to live in a city expect more services than people who live outside of cities.  Which is all well and good, but I had to ask, "So what services are the city providing that the county doesn't?"  Neither of us could think of anything in particular.  The government library system is a county operation, as is the school system.  The way the government school system became a county-only operation is worthy of another column.

Of course, there are more laws to break in the city than there are in the county.  Someone I interviewed recently mentioned the "mask ordinance" (19-062 Wearing Mask/Hood/Disguise $114.50 fine), which happens to be the same fine as for evading arrest, having an unprotected hole/pond/quarry, or discharging a firearm.  A 17 year old environmental protestor ran afoul of the mask ordinance last month.  And, to go along with those extra laws, the city has extra courts like, Traffic Court Plus!  I suppose it is just like Google Plus, just more expensive.

No roosters allowed!
If you want to raise your own chickens, Knoxville has a license for that.  The application is only 13 pages long, so that is over two pages per bird if you go to the six hen limit.  Hens only, no roosters, and permission costs $75.  Okay, the county is pretty jack-booted about that one too.  You have to be in an agricultural zoned area to raise chickens in the county.  A couple of years ago they debated "allowing" residential zone residents permission to raise chickens, but I haven't found where the measure passed.

So how about it Knoxville, how about a little Anarchy?

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

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