Boroughs going into trash collection business

| 29 Sep 2011 | 10:04

    MILFORD - Officials in Milford and Matamoras boroughs say they can pick up their own trash cheaper than commercial haulers. To that end, the Milford Borough Council on Monday approved a plan funding the joint purchase of a garbage compactor truck with Matamoras. Matamoras officials were expected to follow suit at their monthly meeting Tuesday evening. Milford Borough Council President Matthew Osterberg called the move a “ground breaking decision.” Osterberg said the new program would cost Milford no more than $90,000 in its first year, based on a 70-30 split of costs, with the more populous Matamoras picking up the larger share of costs. Osterberg said the decision came after a thorough discussion of the costs. “We got together and crunched the numbers and decided we could do it,” he said. The cost split was based on past tonnage records kept by the county. Milford’s current contract with Charles Steuhl and Sons is $93,000 through Dec. 31. The contractor has offered a zero-increase bid for the coming year. Osterberg believes rumor of the boroughs’ plan may have played a role in the zero increase bid. A competitive bid from Waste Management Inc. came in at $127,000. At about $19,000 per million in the borough budget, that would have required a three million tax levy increase, Osterberg said. Osterberg admitted that mechanical breakdowns or any other unusual conditions, that might put the municipal truck out of commission, could be costly. “We’d have to go to one of the commercial haulers, but I don’t believe we’d be too far over the barrel. We’d have a court case,” he said, if unfair emergency rates were charged. Milford’s approval of costs covers the truck and the hiring of a part-time employee to operate it. Matamoras will hire a full-time employee, but the two boroughs will share the truck crew, Milford paying on its collection day and Matamoras paying on both of its collection days. Multiple dwellings will still be required to pay for private dumpsters as the new agreement will not impact the pickup limit, which is two-cans “per property unit,” Osterberg said. “That’s been in place forever. What would change, Osterberg said, would be the rationale for people to recycle. The borough will not have mandatory recycling, but the council president believes that taxpayers will realize that their efforts will impact borough costs. “Sixty-five dollars a ton may not sound like much, but it adds up quickly,” he said. With Matamoras current commercial contract expiring in March, the new plan will begin in April of next year. Milford has approved a new three-month commercial contract to reach the inception date. The plan appeared to meet with the approval of taxpayers. “I’ve been nagging them to do shared costs project forever,” said resident Lynn Astringer.