The is considering decreasing the number of garbage pickup days in the borough from two times per week to one.
As the borough is currently in the process of going out to bid for garbage services, Department of Public Works Superintendent John Whitehead has been working with Borough Attorney Mark Madaio and CFO Donna Mollineaux to prepare specifications.
Included in those specifications, as outlined during Thursday's council meeting, are pricing options based on the twice weekly pickup, once weekly pickup, implementing a single-stream recycling program and the cost to work with a one-, two- and three-year contract.
"We have never entertained a once-a-week-pickup," Whitehead said.
Whitehead did not have an exact cost estimate for how much could be saved by moving to a once weekly trash pickup schedule, though he was confident it could yield a significant savings in time and trucking costs. The single-stream recycling program that will be included in the bid specifications could also save the borough money by encouraging more recycling, Whitehead said.
"I think single-stream is the way to go, it's the way of the future," he said.
With single-stream recycling, all recyclables are picked up together and later sorted at a recycling facility. Councilman Dan O'Dougherty agreed that the single-stream recycling program could be a positive change for residents.
"You won't have to store [recyclables] because everything will be taken at the street," he said.
Whitehead reference and said the municipality saw a 10 percent increase in recycling tonnage since implementation of the program.
The once weekly garbage pickup schedule would not seem to have an effect on trash tonnage. But Whitehead said the borough could experience trouble with trash elsewhere if the number of pickup days was decreased.
"On a single pickup [schedule], you may see a little more littering or illegal dumping," he said.
The council members presented arguments for both the once weekly and twice weekly pickup schedules. Councilman Jim Freda said he was concerned that the once weekly pickup could be problematic in the summer months, particularly in sections of the borough where homes do not have garages. Freda said residents may have trouble with bears if garbage is piling up on their properties. Whitehead agreed that bears could become a nuisance if more garbage is left out, no matter the season.
"Last year, we had such a mild winter the bears never hibernated," he said.
Earlier in the discussion, however, Whitehead told council members that with the two pickup days, the garbage haulers notice a much lighter load on the Friday pickup, as many residents are only utilizing the Tuesday pickup day. Whitehead noted that some families do enjoy putting out smaller amounts of trash more often with the two days though.
Mayor Bob Collins said he would hate to see the borough move to a once weekly pickup schedule and have residents forget once or twice in a row to put their garbage out and have to hold it for longer. But Whitehead said community outreach would be a key component if the borough were to move forward with a decreased pickup schedule.
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