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 (MRRTS) as a cost-saving measure.
Earlier this year, the township had planned to become the lead municipality in a joint purchasing program that 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.
The township had planned to phase-in the program district-by-district, with the first district beginning in March 2011.
Last week, however, Township Manager Tom Czerniecki said the lowest responsible bid 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 start 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.
Council agreed and passed a resolution rejecting all bids for the MRRTS program.
To fund the purchase of three of the trucks, Council introduced a measure to amend a 2007 bond ordinance that had money left over from roadwork that was funded by grants and dam repairs that did not need to be completed.
Leftover funds from the township’s solar project, which Czerniecki said came in under budget, will most likely be available to fund a fourth truck.
Council discussed leasing the current trucks out to smaller municipalities, which would create revenue for the township.
Members also discussed the possibility of selling ad space on the new trucks, also to generate revenue. Czerniecki said officials would work on creating a business model regarding Council’s ideas. Council is scheduled to meet again on Dec. 21 at 6:30 p.m.