Questions about the cost and the scavenging of metal piles may doom Malta’s plan to hold a townwide bulk waste collection this spring.
The only bid the town received from a waste hauler could cost the town around $40,000, about $10,000 more than officials had budgeted,
The bidder, County Waste & Recycling of Clifton Park, proposed charging the town a fee of $22,000, plus $65 per ton collected. Town officials had asked for a fixed price, so the County Waste proposal doesn’t comply with the bid specifications.
Town Attorney Tom Peterson was asked to assess the town’s options for awarding or rejecting the bid, with a report expected at Monday’s Town Board meeting.
Town Highway Superintendent Roger Crandall said three waste-hauling companies picked up bid packages, but County Waste was the only one to bid.
County Waste also said it wants to limit the size of the piles left for its trucks to pick up, a limitation Crandall said likely is in response to the last collection, when one resident left out a fiberglass boat to be taken away and another left an old hot tub.
The pickup, if it goes forward, is expected to take place throughout the town the week of May 10. Councilwoman Tara Thomas said the service is popular with the public, and the town should do it if possible.
For haulers, part of the incentive to do municipal collections is that the bulk metal they collect has value in the recycling market. But in recent years, with metal values rising, other people have sorted through piles left by the road before the hauler can get there.
Town Councilman John Hartzell is interested in the town adopting a new law that would prohibit people from scavenging the piles. The town of Glenville passed such a law in 2013, and the town of Ballston passed a similar law last year.
The concern is that scavengers take the metal items that have the most value, reducing the value expected by waste haulers when they bid. Other criticisms are that scavengers make a mess of the piles and can create a public safety hazard by pulling trailers through residential neighborhoods.
“Some folks, you just won’t stop, but having the law would be some benefit in discouraging people from doing that,” Hartzell said.
But town Supervisor Paul J. Sausville said those who scavenge are doing a form of recycling.
“I would be a little uneasy about it,” Sausville said of the law.
“I just feel like, why should we create a new law we can’t enforce?” said Thomas.
The board took no action.