Recycling pickups will increase to once a week, and township residents will stop having separate grass pickups, according to a new committee plan expected to save taxpayers more than $50,000 in the coming year.
The Wyckoff Township Committee gave the thumbs up to a pair of 5-year contracts with Paterson-based Gaeta Recycling at a public meeting on Dec. 4.
Gaeta was the low bidder with the township for all levels of service, according to Township Administrator Bob Shannon.
"The way we structured the bid to get the best price for the municipality was we made all bidders bid on all levels of service and on all years of service to be considered a responsive bid," Shannon said. "The governing body reserved right to award [contracts] in whole or part, which meant that there was a consequence if [bidders] didn't sharpen their pencils on all levels — which is what occurred."
The committee considered two versions of a garbage collection plan: one in which refuse would be collected once a week for 10 months and twice a week in July and August ($415,000); or a slimmer plan where garbage would be collected once a week, year-round ($397,000.)
In 2012, the cost off garbage collection was $459,000.
The committee selected the premium level of service, which resulted in a slightly lower overall frequency of service for township residents. As per the last contract, twice-a-week pick up occurred May through September.
"It truly is an amazing result," Mayor Chris DePhillips said, adding that the plan presented to the committee would lead to a "substantial cost savings to the township residents."
"I was really amazed at the responses we got back, I was really expecting a big increase," said Committeeman Brian Scanlan. "It's really remarkable."
Township officials decided to axe grass collection, citing major savings and a desire to move toward a more frequent — and costly — recycling program, a minimal current use, as well as saying that residents would still be able to dispose of their clippings at the Township Recycling Center.
Grass collection would have cost the township $50,000 and grass disposal was estimated at another $13,000, according to township figures.
The township collected 243 tons of grass curbside in 2012, according to Shannon, and only about 15 percent of township residents had used the pickup service, according to Scanlan.
The township was presented with two options for a recycling plan: continue with every other week pickups at a cost of $176,000 per year, or switch to once-a-week pickups at a cost of $218,000 per year — a difference of $42,000.
"If we were to pick up [recycling] every week, I think people would be more inclined to recycle," said Committeeman Doug Christie. "A lot of people don't want to put up with the clutter in their garage... and say 'I'll just throw it out with my household waste.'"
Township officials agreed, saying that recyclables added to garbage and trash bins increase the hauling costs, raising overall costs for the township.
Committeeman Rudy Boonstra said he wanted to find ways to increase recycling, and supported the move to once-a-week recycling.
"Quite honestly, we'll never know if we don't try it," Boonstra said, while expressing concern that grass clippings would end up in the solid waste stream.
"We have to get people in the habit [of understanding,] particularly with the 2 percent cap that we're laboring under now, that there are certain services which simply don't make a lot of sense anymore," Scanlan said. "I stopped collecting my grass 10 years ago and haven't looked back, I don't think it's necessary."
According to figures provided by the township administration, here's how the numbers break down for the services chosen for the next year, in comparison to the year prior:
- Excising grass collection and disposal costs is expected to save the township more than $60,000 in 2013, according to township officials.
- Garbage collection for 2012 cost $459,000 compared with a proposed bid of $415,000 for 2013 — a savings of $44,000.
- Recycling collection in 2012 cost $117,000 compared with a proposed bid of $218,000 in 2013 — an increase of $101,000.
Solid waste disposal costs are projected to shrink from $486,150 in 2012 ($69.45 per ton) to $437,500 in 2013 ($62.50 per ton) — a savings of $48,650. That cost was established on the assumption that the township will continue to dispose of 7,000 tons of solid waste (as was the case in 2012.)
Township officials believe the overall tonnage of trash may decrease as a result of the increase in recycling pick ups, further cutting solid waste disposal costs below the $48,650 figure.
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