Garbage/recycling issues are just growing pains

When the City of Minot completes its changes to garbage service and recycling, there will certainly be residents who don’t like any new systems. There will be those who will never approve of any change. Already there are those asserting a lack of competence and/or integrity on the part of the city when it comes to the surprisingly complex issues of garbage/recycling.

It is, perhaps, more reasonable, to see the issues and debates over them as growing pains – the natural result of a growing city, needing to plan for the future and willing to take on difficult challenges to make that future as palatable as possible.

Delivery of basic services is the largest role of municipal government. How best to deliver those services is a discussion that most communities have long since had, as towns became cities with greater demand and the need for more organization. It’s about time Minot had that discussion.

A complaint often registered by local taxpayers is the lack of longterm planning by the city in the past. Many feel problems we face today could have been staved off with better planning years ago. Maybe. Or maybe that wasn’t possible because of the specific recent history of Minot – booms and busts, the flood, a population that exploded and has subsequently diminished. Even the most cynical must acknowledge that planning with so many variables is no easy thing.

Yet, here we see the city trying to plan for the longer term. All of us might not like where that planning is taking us, but it is planning none-the-less. Secondly, the debate is inclusive of the community and it is transparent. While the city has shifted or considered shifting plans, this is not a sign of lack of thought. It is, on the contrary, a reaction to realities on the street, to means testing and to the input of citizens.

It can be messy and doesn’t always lead to the best possible results. But it makes the latter possible and it is what a community should want.

So perhaps, while we make our individual thoughts and opinions known and advocate for them passionately, we can still think of this process as just a set of growing pains. The thing about growing pains is that they are going to happen if an entity is to grow. At least, then, we know we are moving in the right direction.

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