Joe Duenas and John Benavente are to be commended. Duenas the director of the Department of Public Works; and Benavente the manager of the Guam Power Authority; have found a solution so simple you wonder why nobody thought of it before.

As this Journal reports it is their idea and implementation that mean Guam’s residents will finally pay for their trash collection — through an $8 item added monthly to their power bills.

From January Guam’s residents will join the commercial sector and the business community in paying for its trash pickup.

While we should all be grateful to the two directors it is a pity that their lateral thinking could not extend to figuring out how to back-bill residents.

Benavente told the Journal he expects complaints from the approximately 60% of residents who have not been paying their trash pickup fee and will now have to find $8 a month to pay for a service they have been getting for nothing.

As those people have been having a free ride for years it is amazing that they would complain.

Rather it is the honest 40% the citizens who have endeavored to pay their trash bills as time dragged on -— who may complain the loudest. The commercial sector —which has to pay for its trash to get it collected at all — will also no doubt feel aggrieved. It is understandably hard to swallow that other clients will be let off their debt accumulated to date.

The Department of Public Works also intends to kick-start privatization of trash collection — another necessary action that has been too long in coming. And if Duenas has his way privatization of trash pickup will certainly and irrevocably become the norm on Guam throughout the island.

Duenas intends to ask the Guam legislature to ensure that Public Law 24-313 is adapted to allow privatization of all trash services on Guam.

That too is a commendable action. Government collection of trash has not worked and regular and efficient collection of trash is a component of the beautification of our island.

This Journal looks forward in 2005 to reporting on the successful conclusion of privatization of trash services.

Meanwhile kudos to Duenas and Benavente for cleaning up an issue and mess that has remained swept aside for too long.