The following is an article from Supervisor Warren Lucas:
Our garbage recycling contract is up August 31. After several years of unchanged cost, the new bid price is a whopping 43 percent increase, up from $632,000 to $903,000 per year. This increase will drive a 4 percent increase in town taxes if we sign it.
Request for prices that we put out stated that we wanted single stream recycling as part of the price. We have three larger municipal contractors in the area; City Carting (the company we use now), AAA and Suburban Carting. All were working on our bid package, however only one supplied us with a quote, our current contractor City Carting.
I called up the other companies and asked them why they didn’t provide a bid. Both were forthcoming in our discussion. The primary reason is single stream recycling.
When single stream first started there was places that would take it. Contractors used to get paid $15 per ton to deliver it to the Beacon Plant recycling center, now they are charged $61 per ton, they expect the single stream to be going to $85 per ton.
Regular garbage is only charged $72 per ton at the county plant.
In 2017 the Town collected 726 tons of single stream recyclables. City Carting has their own plant with bales of plastic with no place to go. It’s gotten bad enough that Greg Kunze from City Carting said to me in December that if a pizza box has some tomato sauce on it the entire 1,000 pound bale of cardboard/paper is rejected. The recycling used to get shipped back to China but last year that market started to slow up with so many U.S. locations having material to ship back.
Both AAA and Suburban Carting went through our bid package but did not bid. In my call with each of them, the main issue after gas prices increasing and union wage increases is that single stream is dead for now. I was told that you have to separate the paper/cardboard from the rest of the recycling or it is too expensive to get rid of. They can get paid for the paper and cardboard, the rest of the stuff might go into landfills or they have to pay to get rid of it.
Where do they send the single stream in the area?
• The Beacon plant will take single stream at a cost of $61 per ton. They used to pay $15 per ton for it.
• Ulster County is throwing all single stream recycling in the landfill along with the rest of the garbage.
• Waste Mgmt. in lower Westchester will not accept it anymore.
If signed, the new contract will drive an additional 4 percent increase in town tax. With everything else going on that is not doable. So what can we do? There are three obvious options. Drop single stream as a requirement, possibly drop town wide garbage pickup, or come up with our own recycling transfer center where people can drop recyclable items off. This would be a longer-term goal as we don’t own sufficient land to do our own recycling center.
I was told that the refuse companies can still get rid of paper and cardboard, but not the rest of the items in single stream. Going back to the older recycling methods would decrease the bill. We will be having a meeting of the Town Board this week to discuss if we go out to bid with regular garbage and non single stream recycling. If we are to do that we need to do it very fast.
The townspeople would need to be on board immediately.
With the new changes in federal taxes those of you who included local taxes as deductions on your federal tax forms will not be allowed to do that in the future. This removes the added benefit of having municipal pickup. None of the other local Towns in Westchester have municipal pickup. If the town might consider dropping garbage pickup altogether that would drop your town tax by 10 percent. Garbage pickup is by far the largest thing we pay for. More than any other budget item and to put it in perspective more than the Ambulance and Police budgets put together.
Whatever we do it will need to be done rapidly so that we have everything in place by September 1.