Bath Borough Council held their bi-monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 15 at 6 p.m. to award a new sanitation contract.
The current municipal waste and recycling contract expires at the end of this year and was a three-year contract with three mutually agreed upon one-year extensions. The current hauler, Waste Management, declined to extend the current contract given current market conditions.
The borough received two bids: one from JP Mascaro and Whitetail Disposal. Waste Management declined to submit a bid, stating a new weight limit restriction imposed on certain borough alleys, among other things, made bidding the contract prohibitive for their company this time around.
Bath’s waste and recycling bid specs contained three options: Option A- maintain current service levels of weekly waste collection with weekly collection of recyclables. Option B- maintain weekly collection of waste, but bi-weekly collection of recyclables. Finally, Option C- maintain weekly collection of waste, but eliminate the collection of recyclables. With current market conditions, council wanted to see the variable cost swings between the options.
Bath’s current waste and recycling fee for 2022 (excluding the borough’s administrative and other program costs) is based at $291.31.
Whitetail’s per year, per residential unit bid was as follows: Option A- $541.51, Option B- $479.90, and Option C- $396.66. Residents would have seen a price increase of 86% for current services, an increase of 65% if switching to a bi-weekly recycling contract, or an increase of 36% to drop recycling entirely.
JP Mascaro’s per year, per residential unit bid was as follows: Option A- $575.01, Option B- $501.88, and Option C- $374.45. Residents would have seen a price increase of 97% for current services, an increase of 72% if switching to a bi-weekly recycling contract, or an increase of 22% to drop recycling entirely.
Keeping the same level of service from this contract to the next was a jump of roughly 92% opposed to a 29% increase if recycling was not included in the next contract. In dollars, (not including other program costs) it was the difference of paying $266.95 more to maintain current services or paying $94.25 more to collect waste and eliminate recycling- a price swing of $172.70. For a majority of council members, this made all the difference.
Before council could decide, JP Mascaro raised an issue with Whitetail’s bid proposal, claiming material defects in which the borough could not accept Whitetail’s bid. JP Mascaro asserted Whitetail’s bid bond was erroneous and that the hauler did not include proper language that the borough’s waste and recycling would be properly accepted at a designated landfill during the life of the contract. Whitetail objected to JP Mascaro’s claims.
Objections to eliminating recycling were raised by the public. Holiday Hill was well represented at the public meeting and on Zoom. Residents along Christmas Avenue, Spyglass Hill and Park Ridge felt it was very important to continue recycling, regardless of the price hikes. Some residents were concerned that not recycling would add to their curbside waste, which could be significant. Bath’s current bid contract is for limited waste collection, up to a maximum of two 96-gallon carts.
Prior to taking a vote, individual council members shared stories of speaking directly with residents, many who were either elderly, on fixed incomes or concerned overall of rising costs for other goods and services. The cost extremes in the residential waste bids, for most of council, is what held the line in deciding the next waste contract.
Six council members voted in favor of awarding the contract to JP Mascaro, selecting Option C, the lowest bid, eliminating recycling for at least the next three years. Council member Jim Lisiecki dissented, understanding the cost burden would be distributed among the population, but felt at least bi-weekly recycling should have been considered.
The new contract is set to commence on Jan. 1, 2023 and end on Dec. 31, 2025. The contract also contains three one-year extensions.
Residents desiring to continue recycling could separate their recycling and transport to a local center in Bethlehem. Residents cannot have separate haulers for recycling due to the borough’s local ordinance that mandates residential properties as single hauler. This eliminates multiple trucks from coming into and out of the borough at different hours and days of the week. It also helps to limit traffic congestion.
Residents with any questions, concerns or additional comment on the issue are encouraged to call the borough office at 610-837-6525.