What the Businesses Say…


In my previous post, I told you that at our public hearing for the budget, several business owners expressed their concerns about eliminating trash services to the downtown businesses who still receive them.

{Years ago, the city of Simpsonville decided to stop commercial trash collection, yet continued to provide the service to approximately 35% of our businesses–primarily those downtown.}

I said in that previous post that their concerns are valid, and I share some of them.  I didn’t specify what those concerns were. So what are they?  The Chamber of Commerce surveyed their members, and 21 replied to the survey.  Allison McGarity of the Chamber summarized their concerns in a letter to Council.

Here’s [part of] what it said:

“After reviewing the survey responses and discussing the matter with business owners, it is clear to me that their disapproval can be attributed to three major areas of concern: the financial burden this decision will place on businesses, the lack of transparency surrounding the process, and the degradation of the City’s appearance.

Understandably, the primary reason for concern is the financial impact on businesses and the long-term increase in the cost of doing business here. Survey respondents reported an average cost increase of $3,600 per year for their business to secure adequate trash removal services. That amount will be a difficult challenge for many of our local small businesses and will tie up capital that could have otherwise been used for salaries, rent payments, etc. These businesses will be forced to pass the expense to their customers by raising the prices of their products and services. In the long-term, that will make Simpsonville a less attractive destination for shopping, eating, and staying. The economic ramifications of this decision will cause Simpsonville to be less business-friendly and could result in the loss of current and future businesses to other communities with more competitive service offerings.

The second reason for concern stems from the manner in which the City distributed notification of this issue. Per the survey results, many respondents did not know about the budget’s impact on trash removal until they received our survey on Monday, June 5, 2017. Many have expressed that the City’s handling of this issue has caused them to lose trust in the City’s leaders, and they do not appreciate the obvious lack of consideration for their interests. Some respondents reported having supported various City projects in recent years, but now feel unappreciated and neglected. The long term implications of these feelings will damage the City’s reputation and perceived integrity.

The final reason for concern has not been discussed as ardently as the first two, but it should be given equal consideration. Currently, the City provides a uniform method for collecting and removing trash from our commercial and residential areas. Each area of the City has one designated pick-up day each week and a designated method for trash to be placed by the roadside for removal. If we part from this regular one-day-per-week system, and turn to the inherently irregular system that will occur when businesses are independently responsible for their trash removal, the appearance of our community will suffer. Instead of having trash carts and bins out in plain sight just once per week, they will now be out in plain sight almost every day of the week in accordance with the various service providers used by each business. Many in this community have worked very hard to improve the appearance of the City and now feel that this issue will degrade their efforts.”

After our public hearing, some business owners approached Council with a solution to retain their trash removal services without sacrificing brush pickup to residents: raise that Public Works fee even higher. We would need to raise that fee by $26, making it $50 in order to achieve this. I want to know what YOU think about paying $50/year instead of $24/year (current Public Works fee). Please read more and submit your thoughts via the survey by going here: http://bit.ly/2roQY6h.