The Hammond City Council voted Monday to eliminate using city casino revenue to pay for Dumpsters. It was a smart decision.

Councilmen have rented Dumpsters in prior years to encourage neighborhood cleanups, racking up big bills in the process. In fact, those bills added up to $206,735 in 2011.

Councilwoman Janet Venecz, D-at large, made the case Monday that trash can be picked up by the street department without requiring Dumpster rentals.

That thwarts contractors from dumping debris in trash bins provided for residents, not businesses. Contractors can rent their own Dumpsters and figure them into their costs.

Some Dumpsters paid for with city funds in the past also have served as displays for political advertising -- an ironic, but wrong, use of a city asset.

Neighborhood cleanups should continue and should be encouraged. But city funds don't need to be involved.

Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. has made the point that money spent on Dumpster rentals is money that isn't going toward infrastructure, which is where that money should be spent.

Why spend so much money on setting out trash bins when the street department will pick up the collected trash anyway?

Hammond is right to not set out Dumpsters in neighborhoods. The city can pick up trash from alleys without getting private companies involved.

If organizations want to pay for the Dumpsters, fine, but using casino money for that purpose is opening a dangerous door.

Spending city money for that purpose is opening the door for political and ethical troubles, depending on how the vendor is chosen. 

Put that money toward infrastructure, and it will pay dividends for years to come.

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Porter/LaPorte County Editor

Porter/LaPorte Editor Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.