Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mahanoy City Asking for Public Input on Garbage Collection and Sanitation

The Borough of Mahanoy City is currently requesting input from concerned citizens regarding what direction the Borough should take regarding garbage collection and sanitation.

Posted from Mahanoy City Borough Facebook Page
Currently, the Borough is under a contracted bid with Kreitzer Sanitation of Orwigsburg. By ordinance, every occupied residence is required to receive service from our contracted hauler for a rate that is determined by the Borough. The Borough then pays our contracted hauler on a monthly basis based on an invoice, essentially making the Borough the middleman in the transaction for garbage. Over the course of the contract, the Borough has steadily fallen behind in making those payments because we do not receive payments on time from residents. This has led to a current debt to the hauler of approximately $200,000. The contract for collections through Kreitzer is up in June and the Borough now needs to consider how exactly to proceed with Garbage collections which will work best for the citizens of the Borough and prevent the Borough from further financial strain. We’ve identified 3 potential options and would appreciate feedback from citizens because we do feel that each has Pros and Cons:

Option 1: The Borough does not bid a global contract and exits from being involved in Sanitation process. This would then allow each individual resident to make arrangements themselves with whatever carrier they choose. The Borough would still be able to restrict pick up to a single day of the week and also would be able to restrict access to DEP certified haulers as well. This would ensure that all individual residents are able to pay the lowest price possible and not be affected by the failure to pay by any other resident. Carriers also have various options for residents that would allow them to expand their choice. They also have plans that cost less for less bags, etc… This choice might be ideal for some of our residents who create less garbage or otherwise might have a desirable alternative for what they do with their garbage. There could be considerable cost savings for residents depending on their needs. Most haulers also have options for recycling and large items. The concern of council under this arrangement is the potential for residents to fail to make arrangements or otherwise safely dispose of their trash. This could create a situation where there is trash in public places. In this situation it would be a code issue and citations could be issued, as well as a strain on the Borough to pick up abandoned trash, though this does occur from time to time now. This system exists in a number of local towns and based on our discussions with them, it is well liked.

Options 2: The Borough continues to use a global bid process. The borough would place the contract out for bid and then receive bids from haulers to take over service for the entire borough. This would allow for the Borough to have a continued role in the process and have a point of contact that is local for citizens. The Borough communicates with the hauler and helps to ensure that service is running smoothly. From time to time the Borough might coordinate with hauler for service stoppage to places where the bill might be delinquent, often in these situations the Borough eventually needs to remove trash as that might create a hazard in the neighborhood, but the owner will be cited if they do not remove their trash that was not picked up. The issue with this option is that the Borough cannot continue to fall behind paying the invoices to the hauler. Sharp hikes in the rate of trash will be necessary in order to ensure that the bill is paid on time. While the current existing outstanding debt may be collectible, as in it may not actively affect current rates, rates will still go up so to ensure the debt does not increase any further. Also, a global bid restricts the option to 1 plan from the hauler, many people have asked why they have to pay the same despite putting out half the trash or less than most people, we simply can’t offer that type of flexibility in this set up. The council is concerned with punishing the people who do pay their bill because of those who do not.

Option 3: The borough has looked into putting the contract out for bid with the option of the low bidder taking over all payment and collection options. As of right now, this does not seem a viable option but it’s something we’re still looking at.

The Borough would really like to hear the public’s opinion on the matter. Please feel free to call Borough hall or write a letter. If there is interest, we may even have a meeting prior to our regular meeting in April to discuss the matter further.

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