Talking trash might not sound like a good time, but the administration in this township has really dug into the topic and done some serious research.
In preparation for a “talk on trash” during the second June Lower Providence Township Board of Supervisors meeting, Assistant Township Manager Geraldine M. Golas prepared documentation to take a look at 26 unique communities and how they handle their garbage.
What did they find out in this research? According to Golas, of the 26 municipalities:
· 9 use contracted haulers
· 7 have an in-house service
· 10 allow residents to select their own hauler
Golas added that of the ten that allow residents to select their own, the populations were larger, with four over 20,000 or the average population of Lower Providence. Those with single haulers counted only the number of pick-ups in a week.
“We are not drilling down to the level is there bulk pick-up, recycling included, yard waste included,” said Golas of her research at this time. “This really is meant to show the different types of service provided, not the level of service.”
The contract, which Lower Providence Township currently has with Audubon-based J.P. Mascaro and Sons, does not end until 2015. The board, however, aims to get ahead of the decision to allow ample time for the community to have its voice heard.
“This is part of an ongoing conversation we are having on how our trash is removed from the township,” said LP Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Colleen Eckman. “The board is collecting information so that we can make a decision about how to proceed, whether it is to rebid again, like we’ve doe in the past for many, many years, or some other alternative.”
Eckman continued to welcome input from the residents.
“The information that we’re receiving from residents is very helpful,” she said. “I haven’t gotten much, only one written and one verbal.”
Supervisor Patrick Duffy echoed her comments.
“I have not [gotten much feedback],” he said. “My only comment tonight is that I welcome comments, so if you can’t come out to a meeting to express you opinion in person, please send the board via email or reaching out to Rich, send your comments. I welcome and want as much input as possible on the trash service we have now and the various alternatives.”
Candy Allebach, a resident of Eagleville Road, said she kept her private hauler the last time contracts were discussed.
“We were told that anyone who had a private hauler before 1999 could keep theirs,” she said. “We are very happy with that. It is cheaper than the hauler the township has. It is picked up once a week. If there is anything large, I have to let them know ahead of time.”
Allebach believes that each resident should select the service they want for trash hauling.
“Residents in the township should be allowed to choose who they want to have,” she said. “I know Norristown, their residents pay taxes to have their borough pick up their trash. We pay taxes, but this isn’t included in the taxes we pay. I think this should be left up to the tax payers to decide what service they choose to have.”
Sam Augustine, director of sales with Mascaro, was also present at the township meeting, stating he was available to answer any questions on the matter.
“Right now, you have a comprehensive service, not only with the two times a week pick-up, but you have 64 gallon ‘toters,’ both for trash and recycling, and residents can put trash outside the toter,” he said. “The recycling with the toter, has increased some 50 to 60 percent since the last contract.”
Augustine wanted to make clear that the level of service Mascaro is providing Lower Providence might not stack up to other competitors.
“You township does receive 52 weeks of yard waste collection, which also includes grass, which is very unusual,” said Augustine. “You are probably one of only six or seven township we have that can put out their grass and have it taken to a compost facility.”
As a resident of Limerick Township, which allows residents to select their service, he said he could say, as a first-hand witness, the traffic is heavier with such selection.
“I’ve lived there [Limerick] for 25 years, and I can tell you with the number of residents we have … we have so many different trucks coming through that township it’s incredible,” he said.
Eckman said she had concerns for seniors or those on low income who struggle to come up with $400 per year to have trash pick-up.
“We want to get the best buy for our residents,” she said. “If that is a different system, we are open to try that.”
Augustine said that, with a new bid, there could be options added to take into consideration smaller households or senior pricing.
“There could be different options within a bid to address those concerns,” he said.
The topic of trash will be discussed once again in the first meeting of August of the board of supervisors. The public is welcome to attend on Thursday, Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the township building, located at 100 Parklane Drive, Eagleville.
For those that cannot attend but wish to have their input added, residents may email the following board members with their comments:
Colleen Eckman: email@example.com
Jason Sorgini: firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Duffy: email@example.com
Jill Zimmerman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Thomas: email@example.com
For more information on upcoming board meetings or proposed agendas, visit the township’s website here.