Trash disposal costs going down, thanks to eight-town pact

Trash disposal costs going down, thanks to eight-town pact

Mayor’s Message: Bernie Platt

In recent years, as Cherry Hill has grappled with the global financial crisis and the new economic realities that have resulted, my administration has focused closely on reducing expenses while continuing to deliver the core services our residents expect and deserve.

As I’ve shared time and again during my tenure as mayor — and particularly over the course of the last 12 months — shared services and joint purchasing have become standard business practices that have, thus far, allowed us to preserve the level of services delivered while still securing significant savings for our taxpayers.

To this point, no effort has been a better example of the success of those practices than the township’s strides to reduce the cost of residential trash collection and disposal.

Just last week, my office received more good news on that front.

As many of you know, earlier this year, Cherry Hill went out to the marketplace collectively in search of a new contract for our trash-disposal services.

We learned recently that, as a result of that bidding process, our eight municipalities will save nearly $1 million on trash disposal over the next 14 months. Cherry Hill alone will see $265,000 of that savings.

Under our current pricing structure, last year, Cherry Hill paid about $1.3 million in incinerator fees to dispose of 21,000 tons of solid waste.

Under this new contract, we have secured a price of $52.50 per ton for solid waste disposal, compared to the $65 we are currently paying.

Do the math: This deal saves the residents of Cherry Hill more than 20 percent on trash-disposal costs.

And this is the second such successful partnership we’ve undertaken in the last year. A separate deal announced last October resulted in a savings of nearly $3 million over five years for Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township and Merchantville.

Broken down into annual installments, over the next 14 months, these two agreements will save Cherry Hill and our taxpayers $675,000 on the cost of collecting and disposing of solid waste.

Throughout my tenure as mayor, I’ve made a commitment to the residents of this township: That I would think progressively and do whatever was in my power to continue delivering high-quality services at the lowest possible price.

This is, hands down, the largest deal of its kind in South Jersey. Our eight communities contain 175,000 residents, and span a total of 103 square miles. In other words, our towns are home to one-quarter of Camden County’s total population, and we cover half its total geographical area.

We brought a lot of business to the table — and the marketplace has responded. Now, our taxpayers will reap the benefits.

I would like to publicly thank our partners in this effort in Voorhees, Haddon Township, Winslow, Merchantville, Somerdale, Gibbsboro and Collingswood.

At an annual cost of about $7.3 million, collection and disposal are critical but costly services for all communities in New Jersey. With the cooperation of our partners in this effort, we have been extremely successful thus far in harnessing our collective purchasing power to push the market to bring down our costs.

As I’ve said many times before, government needs to find new ways to do business in this constantly changing economic climate. We can’t rely on old streams of revenue or old ways of thinking.

Cherry Hill has been a pioneer in that regard, as we’ve forged relationships with our neighbors that have resulted in tremendous savings for our residents.

This is just the latest in a series of best practices my administration has instituted in recent years that will help keep Cherry Hill on a fiscally-sustainable course as we move into the future.