WESTFIELD, NJ — The town’s annual bulky waste pickup program received a green light from Town Council Tuesday marking the second consecutive year in which the municipality is not subsidizing the program, resulting in higher fees for homeowners purchasing permits for it.

The council awarded a contract for the program to Republic Services, of New Brunswick, at a cost of $185 per permit holder. Council members approved the measure 4-0 during an 8 a.m. meeting called to expedite the program’s approval.

Nearly 500 people signed up for annual bulk waste pickup in 2018, Town Administrator Jim Gildea said. The cost had risen to $185 per permit holder, $105 more than when the municipality subsidized the program in 2017. This year, homeowners wishing to have bulk waste picked up will also pay the $185 fee, under the contract.

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“This is the second year in a row where we’re charging for the full freight,” Gildea said. “There is basically no subsidy.”

A single permit purchases the option to dispose of up to 750 pounds of bulk waste, according to the program's guidelines.

It is also the second consecutive year during which officials expressed uncertainty that the town would be able to secure a bidder for the program, the cost for which has risen due to changing dynamics in the waste disposal industry.

Bulky waste pickup will start in Ward 1 on Sept. 30, Gildea said, and the municipality will move quickly to sign people up, including through an online portal to be established. Officials anticipate completing the program by Oct. 25, allowing one week for each ward, he said.

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Council members considered pushing back the pickup program to allow more time for the public to sign up, however, decided to complete the pickups before Halloween.

“We could allow for a few extra days,” said Mayor Shelley Brindle. “But I definitely don’t think we could do Halloween.”

Councilman Doug Stokes called in his vote by phone. Members David Contract, Dawn Mackey, Joann Neylan and Mark LoGrippo were not present. The morning meeting lasted 6 minutes long.

Kim Forde, the town's spokeswoman, said that while the council rarely meets in the morning, it has done so before.

“In this case, both Monday evening and Tuesday morning were offered to council members, and more members were available for Tuesday morning on short notice,” Forde said.

The deadline for the public to register for the bulk waste pickup program is Sept. 27. Full details on items accepted for the bulk waste program can be found on the town’s website here.

For a printable application, click here. Applications may be mailed or dropped off in person at the Department of Public Works, 959 North Avenue West, Westfield.

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh