After over 1,800 missed garbage pickups in August and September, Northampton Borough is taking what solicitor Brian Panella calls “immediate action” against trash hauler Republic Services of New Jersey. A letter was sent to the hauler and tens of thousands of dollars will be deducted from the hauler’s payments.
“This isn’t a slap on the wrist…we are hitting them immediately,” said Panella during the borough’s October 7 council meeting.
Per the 2020 contract with Republic Services, the borough will deduct $25 payments for every missed unit. In August, there were 549 missed units. In September, there were over 1,300. In some cases, residents had to wait over a week before their trash was collected. This totals a deduction of $47,400. The borough will also be charging Republic Services for leaking refuse onto borough streets.
“If the borough doesn’t see immediate and drastic improvement…we will find somebody that will do it,” added Panella.
The borough also requested a log of all complaints. Solicitors will be cross-checking the complaints kept by Republic Services against a list of complaints sent to the borough.
A meeting between borough officials, solicitors, and Republic Services will be held during the week of October 11.
In other news, Councilmen Ronald Glassic and Trevor Stone reported on plans for a new access point to the Nor-Bath trail. Last month, residents from McKeever Lane had asked whether the borough can require an easement that will allow them to safely access the trail. Their previously used access was on private property.
Glassic reported that Horwith Trucking owns land near Barrington Drive that could potentially be used as an access route. However, this is still in early planning and will not happen overnight.
“This could be a win-win for a lot of reasons,” he said.
Caesar Artos moved into the property that residents of McKeever Lane had previously used to access the trail. He put up “private property” signs to protect his family.
“I just want peace and privacy like everyone else,” said Artos, defending his decision to install the signs.
“You should have that privacy and property,” agreed Councilman Tony Pristash, “regardless of what that tradition was.”
Borough parks were also a topic of discussion during the October 7 meeting. An uptick in vandalism is prompting the borough to explore installing more security cameras. Meanwhile, Councilman Pristash is continuing to plan a floral garden for Canal Park.
Pristash said he has been meeting with horticulturists and other nature groups to discern what will grow best and be low maintenance. He will be meeting regularly with these experts but told residents nothing can be planted until Spring 2022.
Finally, the borough has extended the deadline to apply for the policing civil service test to October 22. Those interested should contact the borough.
The next Borough Council meeting will be held on Thursday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m.