By MYRA THRIFT  Staff Writer
Residents of Ware County who are customers of Republic Services for door-to-door weekly garbage pickup will soon see a slight increase in their bill.
Ware County commissioners Monday evening approved an increase of 42 cents a month, from $12.25 to $12.67 a month, following a request made in the work session earlier in the day by Randy Dixon, of Republic Services.
“We are giving the best price we can but we are requesting a rate increase for Ware County,” Dixon told the commission during the 2 p.m. work session.
He noted that like Ware County, Pierce County residents also have the option of participating in the garbage pickup, while all other counties, Clinch, Appling, Long and Bacon counties have universal (mandatory) participation in their garbage disposal programs.
Only about half of Ware County’s residents make use of the available service, Dixon said, with 4,942 homes in Ware on the pickup routes.
“We have had no increase in fees in three years,” Dixon said. During the regular 5 p.m. meeting, commissioners approved the request for the increase by a unanimous vote.
The commission also accepted a donation of a 1990 GMC truck offered to the county by Judge Doug Gibson, to be used by the Pine Valley volunteer fire service in rural Ware County.
only yes-or-no votes on trade agreements with no amendments permitted. Fast-track authority had been routinely granted by Congress to presidents in past major trade negotiations, including NAFTA.
Now, with Republicans in control of Congress, chances might seem to be stronger for free-trade legislation. But Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, predicted that Obama “is going to have a harder time bringing over Democrats than Clinton did back in that era.”
Obama told a gathering of business leaders last month that he recognizes differences within his own party on free-trade agreements and understands how some fellow Democrats may have “legitimate complaints” about possible adverse consequences. It adds up to “tough politics,” he acknowledged.
Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a rising voice in the party and usually a close ally of the president, is among the skeptics. “We cannot afford a trade deal that undermines the government’s ability to protect the American economy,” she wrote in a recent letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
The Pacific Partnership would link 12 countries accounting for 38 percent of total global economic activity: the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The trade negotiations have magnified existing business-labor differences.
“A world where goods and services trade freely is a more fascinating — and prosperous — place to live,” says David Abney, chief executive Officer of United Parcel Service, a company that would benefit from the proposed new free-trade agreements.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka calls the proposed Pacific and Atlantic free-trade agreements deeply flawed economic policies. “We cannot enact new trade agreements modeled on NAFTA,” he said.
Teamsters President James Hoffa warns of looming U.S. job losses.
Major trade agreements entered into by the United States should “contribute to democratic global economic governance and to promote good jobs, full employment and rising wages,” Hoffa said. “A key element, of course, is strong labor rights protections so that every worker in every country can exercise fundamental human rights on the job without fear.”
“Our experience in the past on free trade agreements has not been encouraging,” said Robert E. Scott, director of trade and manufacturing at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank that gets much of its financing from labor organizations. Free-trade proponents and opponents cite different sets of figures to bolster their rival claims.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says NAFTA “has generated vast new opportunities for U.S. workers, farmers, consumers and businesses” and that trade with Canada and Mexico “supports tens of thousands of jobs in each of the 50 states.”