Archived Story

Bennett shares responsibility for ‘bin tax’

Published 12:31am Sunday, October 7, 2012

To the editor:


Mr. Leroy Bennett, as a candidate for Suffolk’s Mayor, has tried to make an issue of what he refers to as the “Blue Bin Tax” dealing with recycling and trash collection fees.

Let me remind you that Mr. Bennett served as the Vice Chairman and Chairman of Southeastern Public Service Authority during his tenure from 1998 to 2008, when he was not reappointed by City Council to represent Suffolk on that board.

During Mr. Bennett’s time on the SPSA Board, SPSA had to deal with its near financial collapse, which resulted in SPSA having to sell one of its major assets located in Portsmouth and to adopt one of the highest dumping fees per ton in the nation.

Once the investigation started, news reports and a 70-page audit concluded that SPSA was woefully mismanaged and that its board members, including Mr. Bennett, had no clue what was going on with SPSA’s expenses. In fact, a Virginian-Pilot article at the time showcased expenditures involving trips for SPSA’s employees and board members, gifts to board members and expensive dinners and receptions at a private club in Norfolk.

Obviously SPSA was in the business of doing more than handling the region’s trash. Mr. Bennett was part of this gross mismanagement and enjoyed the fruits of sitting on that board. He was a large part of the disservice done not only to Suffolk, but to the entire Hampton Roads region by allowing such gross mismanagement to continue.

The consequence of this debacle necessitated that Suffolk create the recycling fee and trash fee to help pay for the mistakes and bad decisions of Mr. Bennett.

He helped create this mess, and he now wants to condemn responsible city leaders for taking a proactive approach.

Charles D. Parr Sr.

Member

Suffolk City Council

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  • Donald

    Councilman Parr,

    I will not waste my time defending Mr. Bennett’s service / leadership while on the Southeastern Public Service Authority board. Nor will I argue against your inferred angst of the possibility of his being elected Mayor of Suffolk for I have already told the world in my Letter to the Editor of the SNH that I would rather vote in favor to continue the current inept leadership then to cast my vote for him after he played the race card and undeservedly brought Suffolk under the microscope of the Dept. of Justice, wasting limited tax dollars, and made us the laughing stock. However I will not blame the entirety of the “Blue Bin Tax” on him while stating that he is partially to blame for our having to shell out yet more money out of an already empty wallet.

    In fact if my memory serves me correctly – you too voted in favor of this continued fleecing of the Suffolk’s Citizenry, along with all other members of the City Council. Understand that I am still under the belief that I am being charged twice for this service as I am already paying property taxes along with the Rain Water Tax for the ditches that I maintain (but that is another story in and of itself), sales taxes, etc….

    Let us look at some of the reasons that we have to pay for the very same “Blue Bin Tax” that you voted for: continued funding/support of Suffolk’s Cultural Arts Center, Whaleyville’s new Community Center (multimillion dollar renovation of a “unsafe school”) to replace a fully functional Community Center, approval of city employee salaries based upon studies that included the comps of Richmond and surrounding suburbs that also serve DC, funding for Suffolk’s “Executive” Airport, and need I continue.

    If you don’t like Mr. Bennett or his politics, then simply say so. However don’t make inferences and try to make it out that you are not just as guilty of the continued wasteful spending as he was.

    Don Roberts

    Citizen / Resident / Taxpayer

    Suffolk, VA

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