Town abandons regional trash program due to costs

By AUBRIE GEORGE

The township has abandoned an effort to privatize and regionalize trash collection after ruling out participation in the Municipal Regional Residential Trash Services program as a cost saving measure.

The township had agreed to become the lead municipality in the joint purchasing program, which would allow trash collection in 16 municipalities to be overseen by central management and would implement the use of updated equipment to allow more efficient collection.

Last night, Township Manager Tom Czerniecki said the lowest responsible bidder for the first phase of the project came in at $985,000 with a contract administrator cost of $174,000, bringing the total cost to roll out the program to about $1.15 million.

Several factors — including the loss of a state department of community affairs grant that would have funded some of the implementation, as well as two municipalities dropping out of the program — meant the township would have to add $468,000 into the budget to roll out the program.

Czerniecki proposed that the township instead invest in four new trash collection trucks to replace current 10-year-old trucks. The new trucks would have high-density compactors that would allow them to collect double the tonnage the current trucks can collect.

The new trucks would also be built more durably and the township would rework the collection schedule to allow the trucks to travel to the landfill in Mansfield, eliminating the $394,000 cost per year to use a transfer station.

Czerniecki said the proposed alternative would result in a net savings of $150,000 per year.

Town Council agreed and passed a resolution rejecting all bids for the MRRTS program. Members also introduced a measure to refund a 2007 bond ordinance with funds left over from road projects and dam repairs to purchase three of the trucks. The fourth truck, officials said, could be paid for with funds left over from the township’s solar project that came in under budget.

See a future print edition of The Telegram for full coverage of last night’s meeting.