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The Times
  • Municipalities save money collecting trash

  • When Whitesboro starts collecting its own garbage next month, officials anticipate saving more than $200,000 in the first five years.

    The village will lease a truck for about $25,000 a year for the first five years and then purchase it for $1, budget director and village Trustee Patrick O’Connor said.

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  • When Whitesboro starts collecting its own garbage next month, officials anticipate saving more than $200,000 in the first five years.
    The village will lease a truck for about $25,000 a year for the first five years and then purchase it for $1, budget director and village Trustee Patrick O’Connor said.
    About two years ago, the city of Little Falls came to the same conclusion: collect your own trash and save money.
    “We saved $200,000 in the first year,” Mayor Robert Peters said. “It has been one heck of a savings for us.”
    The city was paying $440,000 a year for someone else to collect. Toward the end of 2011, Little Falls had spent $193,000 of the $227,000 budgeted for garbage collection.
    Other municipalities, including New York Mills and Yorkville, also have made the switch. While they all tout savings and benefits to residents, the changeover needs to be analyzed within each locality, said William Rabbia, executive director of the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority.
    “It’s not a one size fits all,” he said. “It’s really dependent on their staffing levels and their DPWs.”
    And when collecting their own trash isn’t in the cards, Rabbia said some municipalities approach the authority wanting help in the bidding process to find the best collector for a reasonable price.
    Roger Stock, owner of Stock’s Garage in Little Falls and former candidate for mayor, said he’s not opposed to self pickup. “I see many benefits to having our own sanitation department,” he said. “It has to be scheduled and structured, so that it doesn’t conflict with us saving money.”
    There are a number of factors municipalities should consider before deciding whether to purchase their own truck or contract out, Rabbia said.
    “If they’re evaluating collecting waste, they should put together their budget with their resources and still bid out to see what provides the best options,” he said.
    Rabbia said there are costs that must be considered when collecting your own garbage — truck, labor and fuel. Other things to consider include:
    •Distance between the municipality and the disposal location.
    •Number of stops for the truck.
    •Number of people, which determines the amount of waste.
    •How much waste.
    •How many days of collection.
    •What other amenities will be provided such as green waste and bulk-item pickup.
    If a municipality decides to collect its own waste, there always is concern that DPW resources will be strained.
    To combat this, Little Falls City Treasurer David Petkovsek said the city hired four part-time employees at an annual salary of $13,000 each.
    The people who drive the truck already were full-time employees, he added.
    “We don’t have guys doing specific things,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Whitesboro’s O’Connor doesn’t deny collecting trash will be a challenge. He said when the village switches over in June, it will have seven employees. The responsibilities of DPW employees undoubtedly will increase, O’Connor said, but right now he doesn’t intend to hire anyone else.
    While some municipalities opt to collect their own trash, the village of Frankfort said no.
    The strain on the village’s DPW would be too great, Mayor Frank Morocco said.
    “We started five years ago and looked into the pros and cons of purchasing a garbage truck versus contracting it out,” he said. “We thought in the long run that it would not work for us.”
    Morocco said the costs of hiring part-time employees and securing workers’ compensation and other liability coverage as contributing to the decision.
    Frankfort has a contract with Bliss Environmental Services Inc. at an annual cost of $58,000. This accounts for green waste, bulk item and recyclable pickup, as well, but doesn’t include disposal.
    The cost for collection and disposal for 2012 in Frankfort is $124,000, Rabbia said.
    Whiteboro’s O’Connor said when the village starts its collection, residents will be getting the same service as before. ”The only real change residents are going to see is who the individuals are who are picking up the garbage,” O’Connor said.

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