At its latest bimonthly public session, Cherry Hill Township Council addressed a pressing municipal need that has grown since March, when COVID-19 forced many residents and homeowners to spend a significant portion of their daily lives at home.
The governing body approved a resolution that authorizes a contract between the township and Republic Services LLC of Mt. Laurel, for solid waste and recyclable material collection.
The new pact will last five years, beginning Jan. 1. Its cost is in excess of $32.7 million, with $25.2 million earmarked for collection of material and the remainder targeted for disposal, per Council President David Fleisher.
“This was a months-long process, gearing up for it,” said Township Business Administrator Erin Patterson Gill. “As many may have heard, the cost of solid waste has actually risen, steadily, over the last couple years. We secured fairly favorable pricing, lower than the anticipated increase that we expected.”
According to Director of Public Works Steve Musilli, terms of the new deal are favorable to the township, in that the rate of increase is lessened over time.
“We’re seeing a 6.1-percent increase in year one, and in years two through five, a 3.5- percent increase,” he explained. “We’re very happy with that pricing, because with people staying at home, we’re seeing an increase of weight at the curb of about 30 percent, both with our solid waste as well as our yard waste.”
That sharp increase means an uptick in stress on the ability of public works vehicles to successfully transport residential waste. A truck that, under normal circumstances, could pick up waste from 850 to 900 homes, would be reduced to 700 homes per day.
“The exciting part for me, anyway, on the disposal side, is that we secured a price of $66.80 a ton for our solid waste,” Musilli added. “And comparing that to the tri-county area, Camden County, Gloucester County and Burlington County, we’re seeing about a 19-percent savings, county-wide, from those communities. It represents approximately $325,000 per year.”
In her customary remarks, Mayor Susan Shin Angulo addressed the coming Halloween celebration, which had been in some doubt due to COVID until Gov. Phil Murphy declared the state could mark the occasion in public.
“Here in Cherry Hill, we are a go for trick-or-treaters to put their costumes on and do their best to fill up their bags with candy and treats,” she announced.
Anyone who wants to participate in traditional trick-or-treating on Oct. 31 should do so between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“Everyone needs to wear a mask,” Angulo added, referring to extra face coverings not already part of a costume.
Residents are urged to visit the township’s website and social media pages for further information and instructions. Soon to be posted are state Department of Health Halloween safety guidelines, suggestions for homeowners who have concerns about letting revelers on their property and access to a special sign homeowners can post to indicate celebrants can skip their house altogether.
In other news:
- Council issued a proclamation to honor the Cherry Hill National 9U baseball team for winning the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, as well as district and state titles, during their 2020 season.
- The township will again participate in Camden County Cooperative Pricing for the delivery of sodium chloride and pretreated liquid-enhanced sodium chloride to the Public Works Department. Per an approved resolution, Cherry Hill entered into a one-year contract with Atlantic Salt Inc. of Lowell, Massacchusetts, effective Nov. 1, in an amount not to exceed $400,000.
- Council also signed off on an authorization to use Sourcewell Cooperative Pricing for the purchase and installation of playground equipment at Point of Woods and Kenilworth Rita Faiola Park playgrounds. The township entered into an agreement with Playpower LT Farmington Inc., of Monett, Missouri, for an amount not to exceed $138,199.37.