The dispute between Mayor Jon Mitchell and ABC Disposal is unique because they are both correct and they actually want to work together.

ABC has been under contract with New Bedford to pick up trash and recycling material for over a decade under three different mayors. The company also has similar contracts with other municipalities in the region. Everything was going fine, until China changed their policy on importing garbage called "recyclable material."

ABC disposal is actually a transportation company. They pick up stuff and bring to another place. Think of ABC as UPS in reverse. UPS and FedEx go to central locations to pick up material and deliver it to individual households. ABC Disposal goes to individual households to pick material and deliver it to a central location. In fact, lots of the stuff ABC is picking up is stuff UPS first delivered because people wanted it and now they don't, so they have ABC deliver it to somewhere else.

All of the disposal companies bring their curbside recycling material to just a few locations. Those few locations have increased their prices and drastically tightened their standards on what they will accept as legitimate loads of recycled material. This increase is a direct reaction to the policy change in China. Changing the company that hauls the recycling material will not decrease the price and it will likely cost the city more money.

However, Mayor Mitchell is correct to hold the line on costs and to negotiate the best deal possible for his city residents. His position may seem harsh to some because ABC is a local company with local employees. He doesn't want to see ABC go out of business, but he doesn't want to give a green light to open up city contracts when prices change. The city can't afford a mayor who can be pushed around.

Both ABC and Mayor Mitchell are correct in their position. Both are sophisticated parties who have tremendous financial realities pushing against them. They are smart and they both understand they need to continue doing business with each other.

The best resolution is for New Bedford and ABC to continue their relationship.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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