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Local editorials

Garbage rates are reasonable The company isn't getting rich, and customers aren't getting robbed

No one likes to be told they will have to pay more for a service they've been receiving for a set rate for a long time. And it's even more frustrating if the price increase appears arbitrary or unreasonable.

That's why it was easy to sympathize with some rural customers of Ashland Sanitary Service when they learned their garbage rates would increase if their houses were more than 40 yards off a public road. The increases initially proposed were steep indeed, and didn't appear to reflect the company's actual cost of collecting trash.

Jackson County commissioners and Ashland Sanitary Service went back to the drawing board and came back this week with a revised fee schedule that is far more affordable and doesn't represent a windfall for the garbage company.

The fact is, Ashland Sanitary had been venturing far beyond what its franchise agreement required in order to collect customers' refuse. It was only after a homeowner sued over a damaged gate that the company decided to revisit its fee structure.

Despite claims by some residents of windfall profits to Ashland Sanitary, company officials told commissioners the increased fees will amount to less than &

36;1,000 a month in additional revenue.

As for the customers, those living up to half a mile from a public road will pay an extra &

36;3 a week. That seems a reasonable price in exchange for not having to drag a trash can that distance.

— The number of customers affected is relatively small. And customers always have the option of canceling garbage collection and hauling their own trash.

The commissioners listened to the ratepayers and tried to make the new agreement more fair and reasonable. They don't deserve to be accused of ignoring residents' concerns.

Not so fast Enjoying a test drive when trying to decide whether you want to spend thousands on a vehicle just got more complicated. Central Point resident Robert Kingsnorth has taken action to make sure you take some route other than Old Military Road, where he lives.

Citing safety concerns, Kingsnorth has written letters and petitioned Lithia Motors to cease using Old Military Road for test drives. He says the lack of shoulders and sidewalks, coupled with drivers using unfamiliar cars, create a hazard.

Lithia sent a letter to Kingsnorth saying the dealership hoped to see the test drives reduced to the point they were no longer a bother, and an e-mail to Lithia managers asking them to cease test drives on old Military Road.

After videotaping 16 test drivers in a four-hour period, Kingsnorth was not mollified and has gathered 35 signatures on a petition to force the issue. Not all the cars were from Lithia dealerships, and 16 in four hours is an average of about one car every 15 minutes, which hardly seems excessive.

As long as speed limits and other traffic laws are being obeyed, we can't see the justification for telling anyone they can't drive on a public road.