GLENVILLE — Increased costs have forced the town to put its annual bulk-pickup program on hold.
A letter posted to the town’s website on Monday said the service has more than doubled in price compared to last year, forcing the town to put the service on hold while it examines other options.
“We are committed to run this popular and much-needed program for our residents, but we’re also committed to being fiscally responsible and protecting the taxpayer,” the letter reads. “We cannot simply accept a bid that is more than twice the previous year’s bid and still be fiscally responsible.”
The letter notes that the town paid $90,000 for the program last year and budgeted “a reasonable $80,000” for the service as part of its 2023 budget.
But County Waste submitted a bid that included a $190,000 flat fee and an additional $105 fee per ton over 550 tons. The town typically collects between 600 and 800 tons under the program, which would likely see costs for the program exceed $200,000, according to the letter.
“That’s simply not affordable and not something the taxpayers can or should support,” the letter reads.
Twin Bridges Waste & Recycling, which operated the service last year, did not submit a bid for the service.
Supervisor Chris Koetzle said in the interview that lawmakers are committed to the service, but agreed to put the program on hold in order to find a way to provide the service without burdening taxpayers. He said the town paid around $10,000 for the service 13 years ago.
“I reached out to each [Town] Board member, and not one of them thought it was fiscally responsible to just go ahead and do it without starting to explore some other options,” he said.
The town typically offers bulk pickup in the spring, giving residents a way of disposing large items, including older furniture and appliances, without having to pay private trash collection companies.
Koetzle said he is hoping to reach out to County Waste later this week and learn more about why the costs for bulk pickup have increased and learn about other, more affordable options that the town could use.
He added that lawmakers will be discussing a number of possible options, including scaling back the amount of items residents can leave out for pickup, switching the service to every-other-year or holding a drop-off event where residents bring items to a central location.
The town could also use reserve funds to pay for the service, though Koetzle said Town Board members don’t believe that would be a financially sound path.
“We could allocate fund balance because the town is in very good fiscal shape, but we’re in very good fiscal shape because we make prudent decisions on using fund balance, and I’m not sure this is the best use of that money right now,” he said.
It’s not the first time the town has made changes to its bulk-pickup program. In 2008, the town canceled the program due to rising costs, switching instead to a drop-off event at the Town Hall, a move the town is likely to do again this year, Koetzle said.
It’s unclear why the price for bulk pickup has increased this year. County Waste could not be reached for comment.
The increase comes as Americans continue to produce more waste each year and inflation continues to lead to increased costs for private companies. Inflation has also driven up the costs for waste services in recent years.
“We know this is a wildly popular program in town, and we’re committee to figuring it out,” Koetzle said. “We just could not see spending that kind of taxpayer dollars for this program at this juncture without at least looking at something else.”
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.
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