Resolution on garbage pickup expected next week
The Cold Spring Village Board, at its Wednesday (Feb. 2) meeting, unanimously supported turning over the collection of garbage and recyclables to a private firm.
The job is currently handled by the village Highway Department.
Next week the board plans to pass a resolution, subject to prior review by the village attorney, accepting a bid from Royal Carting, said Mayor Kathleen Foley.
Privatizing trash collection has been discussed by village officials for more than 10 years but the cost of the switch was always deemed too high.
During the past two years, the administration of then-Mayor Dave Merandy held extensive talks with Royal Carting and found that the company’s estimated fees made private collection more feasible.
Royal Carting submitted the lowest of three bids — $190,000 for the first year. The next lowest, from AAA Carting, was $91,940 more.
Village Accountant Michelle Ascolillo described as “a wash” the effect on the budget of Royal’s bid compared to savings the village will realize by shifting away from using Highway Department employees.
The savings for the village, she said, will include $101,180 in salaries and benefits, $88,796 in disposal fees, $18,258 in truck maintenance and repairs, and $8,352 in Main Street trash pickup.
The saving in wages are possible because, by having Royal take over, a vacancy in the Highway Department will not be filled, a part-time commercial driver will no longer be needed and a part-time mechanic position that had been budgeted can be dropped.
Ascolillo said the village will save an additional $125,000 by no longer having to purchase a new garbage truck.
- One pickup for garbage and one for recyclables per week.
- Garbage pickup will shift to Thursday morning.
- Royal trucks will not enter the village before 6 a.m.
- Each tax parcel serviced by the village pickup will be eligible to receive a 35-, 65- or 95-gallon bin. Additional bins can be acquired for a fee.
- Each recycling bin is 35 gallons; each tax parcel serviced by the village is eligible. Detailed directions on what can and cannot be recycled will be fixed to the top of each bin. Sample bins can be viewed at Village Hall.
- If bins are damaged through normal wear and tear, Royal will replace them at no cost.
- Along with Main Street weekend pickup, Royal will offer Christmas tree collection, brush collection and one bulk collection per year for appliances, tires and electronics.
- Royal expects to receive bins to distribute about six weeks after it enters into the agreement with the village. It will deliver them on two successive Saturdays.
Trustee Joe Curto pointed out that the proposed agreement is for one year. The village will have options to continue for a second and third year, or to opt out.
Curto said that in speaking to a number of municipalities who have made the same change he learned that “they’re not going back to doing it [themselves] because they realize the benefit of all the other things [their workers] can be focusing on.”
Curto said he recently asked Highway Department crew chief Robert Downey Jr. what he could accomplish “if we can get garbage off your back.” Downey, who was present, told the board that garbage was “an absolute headache that’s bogging the village down daily” and that his department devotes as many as three days per week to collection.
“That time could be better spent on infrastructure,” Downey said, listing sidewalks, drainage, catch basins, building maintenance and village beautification as areas the department should focus on.
Most of the Wednesday meeting was filled by a detailed presentation by attorney Jim Constantino, who reviewed in detail the services Royal will provide. He said the transition should be “seamless,” with only a few minor changes from the current pickup by village crews.
During the question-and-answer period, some residents pushed back against Royal’s recommendation to use 95-gallon bins, emphasizing that the village should work toward reducing solid waste, not increasing it. Curto said that more needs to be done to educate residents regarding garbage and recycling.
In other business, the mayor was authorized to renew the contract with Andres Gil as prosecuting attorney for the traffic court. Putnam County used to provide prosecutors but withdrew its funding two years ago.