Madison Council Debates Recycling, Garbage Collection Changes

Mayor Robert Conley and council review agenda items. Credits: Liz Keill
Assistant Borough Administrator Jim Burnet presents garbage, recycling options. Credits: Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ – Following a presentation by Assistant Borough Administrator Jim Burnet, the Madison Council agreed to keep its current method for recycling and garbage collection.

Resident John Hoover summed it up when he said, “I haven’t heard a compelling reason to change. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Everyone’s used to what we have.”

Discussion centered primarily on dual stream or single-stream recycling. Burnet said he favors the dual system, which is currently in use. “I think we do a good job. There’s not a lot of room for cost reductions,” he said.

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Councilwoman Carmela Vitale, however, said, “I’ve been in favor of the single system for a long time. It’s cleaner, with windstorms that can blow papers around. At least they’re in containers.”  She said she has observed other communities, such as Hanover Township, that have gone with the single stream and the system works well.

Burnet explained there are five services involved: garbage, hauling, disposal, recycling and curbside yard waste. Several companies can be contacted for bids, including Suburban, Recycle America and Morris County. He said that calendars are filling up quickly and urged the council to take prompt action.  A minimum contract is three years, he said. And he would recommend an option of four to five years.  He noted that Chatham Township residents pay for their own garbage collection and recycling.

Burnet pointed out that in previous years recycled material were sent to China. In 2011, the borough made $75,000; in 2012 - $29,398; in 2013 - $6,849.  He said a more aggressive approach has resulted in turning away of contaminated recycling.

“Madison is one of the top communities in the county for recycling,” Mayor Robert Conley said.

Conley asked for a motion to maintain the status quo and “to move forward as is.” The council voted 5-1 to keep the current system, with Councilman Patrick Rowe casting a 'no' vote. 

In other business, Financial Officer Robert Kalafut described the MRC (Madison Recreation Complex) note rollover. Councilman Ben Wolkowitz questioned the $1 million collected in user fees. Burnet noted that amount covered an 18-month period.

The council approved an ordinance appropriating $25,000 to purchase 24 self-contained breathing apparatus. An ordinance setting salary ranges for non-union, full time employees was introduced.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 11, at 8 p.m. in Borough Hall. . 

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