Letter to the editor 2, May 19, 2016

Dear Editor,

When I read that the City of St. Lazare, “found a solution to the leaf collection problem” by charging us $25 for pickups, I can't help but slap my forehead with an open palm! Are you kidding me!? Do sound-minded people actually think the city did something good here? Hell no.

To charge people $25 to pick up bags of leaves in a suburb like ours that is covered in trees; trees that we are not allowed to cut down, is absurd!

I shouldn't have to pay to get my bags picked up. I already pay over $3300 a year for municipal taxes! And yet, for that large sum of money, I don't get many services to warrant it. Providing leaf pickup services ensures that citizens continue to make an effort to keep their homes and surroundings looking proper.

Do you think letting the equivalent of 60-70-80 bags of leaves and pine needles just “decompose” all over your property a good thing? That doesn’t decompose. It just piles up, it scatters and blows around… it looks terrible.

And, a word to the wise at city council who try to spin this by stating that, “only a small percentage of the population used the collection service” - Bullcrap! Have you driven around Saddlebrook, Cedarbrook, Du Sanctuaire, Forest Hill, Maple Ridge, etc. lately?

Just about everyone has a need of leaf collecting. Not everyone lives with a forest near them where they can simply throw their ‘garden wastes’ out of sight. And to those of you with very few trees (wonder how that happened? Chainsaw? Lightning maybe?) then good for you. So you have it easy in the fall.

Just so you know; I don’t think you should pay extra fees because you use more city services than me. Yet people who agree with this $25 collection fee are misguided or hypocrites.

Here are a few examples why: I don’t go to the library. Then why should I pay for it through my taxes? I don’t get city sewer services in Saddlebrook, so then why does part of my taxes go towards that? I don’t use the community center, so then why are part of my taxes going towards that as well? I don’t use school gyms after hours for activities, so why are part of my taxes used to fund activities that do use them? I didn’t need the city to purchase Dune Lake, I don’t use it. However I understand why it’s done. I’m not complaining that I’m paying for things I don’t use. That’s what community taxes are for. Everyone chips in for the greater good of the community. Just like leaf collections every fall.

What's next? Will the city start charging us extra fees in the spring to sweep away all the gravel and dirt that collected over winter? Will people who don't pay that new fee have to sweep their own streets?

So, even if you don’t have trees or don't pick up your leaves and your yard looks like an abandoned cowboy town saloon, everyone needs to contribute.

It’s a cost burdened by an entire community, just like for all the other services.

Mr. Mayor, enough of taking this citizen for an idiot.

I must say, I have never cared for, or looked forward to, a municipal election as much as the next one coming up.

I can’t wait to throw my support behind anyone who sends this administration packing.

Eric Holm

St. Lazare