Cleona Borough Council at odds over municipal trash collection

The Cleona Borough Council opened a discussion on Monday about municipal garbage disposal, an issue that has been on the table for more than half a year.

When Council Chairman James O’Connor mentioned the agenda item and expected it to be re-submitted, Councilor Sam Wengert opposed the adoption of a regulation that would allow him to sign a contract with an exclusive garbage truck.

City councilor Patrick Haley asked Wengert the reason for his opposition, and Wengert said he didn’t believe the city council should be able to pick “winners and losers” in the garbage handling business. He also said he did not want to deprive residents of the option of choosing their own freight forwarder.

Haley suggested asking residents if they would prefer to have a freight forwarder in the district. Cleona clerk Melody Vanderveer said a few years ago a survey form was submitted with the sewage bill asking residents’ opinions and there was only a small answer.

She said senior residents of the district turned down the proposal because they believed they would pay the same amount for one bag as a large family would for multiple bags.

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Resident Bryan Hoffman said there are fewer garbage trucks now than when the survey was conducted. He said the company, formerly called Lebanon Farms Disposal, was bought by a larger company and then bought by GFL Environmental of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Hoffman suggested that the council seek proposals from garbage hauliers so that the council can calculate the cost per household. He noticed that he saw elderly residents on his street who put out a single bag a week.

Coronavirus prompts questions

In his park and recreation report, Haley said a previously approved rental application for the pavilion at Cleona Park is slated for May 23, but the park and recreation committee needs to make a decision on whether rental is allowed during the coronavirus pandemic .

He also said a decision needs to be made on the summer playground program for children. If the program actually runs, it may start delayed. Haley said there have been some activities in the park where hiking trails and open spaces are accessible, but playground equipment and tennis courts cannot be used.

Vanderveer told the council that the county voter registration office had requested confirmation that the county hall could be used for the June 2nd general primaries.

Councilor Douglas Hartman asked if the county office would come up with guidelines to create a safe environment to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and Vanderveer said she expected that to happen.

Councilor Tricia Springer said the community will want to plan to clean the room afterwards. District Attorney Colleen Gallo said voters would also have the option of using postal ballot papers.

In other business areas:

-Councilman Robert Moyer said property owners who recently received renewals for breach of the Maintenance Code Regulation will not receive additional renewals.

-Wengert informed the council that a contractor would soon start pothole repairs.

– Police Chief Jeffrey Farneski said National Night Out, normally scheduled for the first Tuesday in August, is likely to be delayed this year.

-The council appointed Wengert as the county’s deputy delegate to the Lebanon County Stormwater Consortium.

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