You Get What You Pay For
A recent story on KRQE News 13 that depicts a recycling driver backing up on a one-way street fails to put the blame where it rightfully belongs: on the shoulders of Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry.
Berry cut 180 jobs out of the city budget this year.
This is on top of the 250 jobs he eliminated last year.
These moves were both ill-advised and nonsensical at the time they were implemented, and now Albuquerque is experiencing their real-world effects.
Aside from increasing unemployment in the midst of a recession, Berry’s hatchet job created a shortage of workers in all city departments, including the sanitation department, where there just aren’t enough drivers to pick up Albuquerque’s trash today.
This has created situations where sanitation workers have had to take shortcuts and rush to get the job done, including driving backwards down one-way streets.
To make matters worse, Albuquerque’s Solid Waste Department has compounded the problem by reducing the number of residential routes for garbage and recycling pickup, even as the number of homes that require these services has risen.
With fewer trucks on the road and fewer sanitation workers in the trucks, the city’s remaining drivers have had to stuff their trucks full to bursting, exceeding their legal carrying limits in many cases by about 2,000 to 9,000 pounds per vehicle.
Berry’s short-term cost-cutting strategies will not only degrade public safety and Albuquerque’s quality of life, they will also cost taxpayers more in the long run.
More overworked drivers and overloaded garbage trucks mean less safety, greater potential for accidents, higher vehicle maintenance and gas costs, and more strain on Albuquerque’s already battered streets and roads.
In times like these, we need our policymakers and department heads to make levelheaded decisions using common sense and critical thinking.