The Prince William Board of County Supervisors doesn’t even want to talk about getting in the trash collection business.
During their meeting Tuesday, county supervisors refused to schedule a public meeting to discuss setting up trash collection services for the Occoquan Forest subdivision, a 219-home residential area near Occoquan Reservoir in the Coles magisterial district.
A motion made by Supervisor Martin Nohe, R-Coles, to schedule a hearing for next month was not seconded, so it failed.
Occoquan Forest residents had asked county supervisors to designate one private trash hauler for them and manage trash pickup for their neighborhood. Multiple private trash haulers now serve the Occoquan Forest subdivision, and residents have complained about the truck traffic resulting from that arrangement.
If scheduled, the public hearing would have allowed residents to publicly discuss their request with county supervisors.
“I would have liked to have heard what the public had to say,” Nohe said after the vote failed.
But other supervisors were wary of “big government.”
“Is this us taking something away from the private sector and putting it back in the hands of government? I think so,” said Supervisor Hilda M. Barg, D- Woodbridge.
Although the Prince William County Service Authority would have managed the trash collection service, county supervisors would have had to set up the service, approve a trash hauler and set the rates.
Approval from 55 percent of residents in a residential area with at least 50 homes is required for the county to consider setting up such trash collection districts.
In the spring of 2004, 84 percent of Occoquan Forest residents voted in favor of creating the district.
The residents reaffirmed their desire for county-managed trash collection during a supervisors’ work session in December.
After the supervisors’ meeting Tuesday, Occoquan Forest resident Jim Bugbee expressed disappointment at the supervisors’ decision, while his neighbor, Waja Grimm, said she was glad the supervisors decided not to step in.
“I would like to have one trash collector, but the big problem is big government,” Grimm said. “I just think somehow we need to make it mandatory for the homeowners’ association.”
Occoquan Forest residents had asked the county for help with its trash collection since — unlike most neighborhoods — membership in its homeowner’s association is not mandatory and residents can’t be forced to choose the same trash hauler.
However, Bugbee said making membership mandatory had proven difficult, which was why residents appealed to county supervisors.
“It would be harder to get mandatory membership than to get the county board of supervisors to take it on,” Bugbee said.