Fountain Hill Borough to Cut Back on Trash Pickup in 2021
Fountain Hill borough residents must prepare for a revised garbage collection plan that includes fewer pickups that will cost them more from 2021.
The district’s current garbage and recycling contract expires at the end of 2020, the district council stated at its meeting on October 5. The council spent more than 30 minutes in the meeting discussing new contract options, including offers from two different vendors.
The council eventually approved a motion to award the garbage and recycling transport bid 5: 2 to Republic Services. The Republic’s three-year offer includes weekly garbage collection, with recycling being picked up every two weeks (the current recycling pick-up schedule). The new contract may also increase residents’ plumbing fees by $ 50 to $ 60 per year.
Council members noted that regardless of which bidder they selected, residents would consider increasing their garbage and recycling fee as prices have risen since negotiating the expiring contract. The city council discussed reducing garbage collection from twice a week to just once a week in order to cut costs for residents.
“Even if we downgraded from two pickups a week to one pickup a week, we would still expect a pretty substantial increase,” said councilor Will Rufe.
The district’s finance director Cordula Voges mentioned that a more careful effort to collect sanitation fees for residents could help offset the price hikes caused by the new contract. However, the Council expressed concern as to whether or not it could rely on such an effort.
“I don’t think we can expect bills to be paid sooner than they are paid now. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we had more trouble collecting invoices next year and maybe next year, ”said Councilor Doug Trotter. “If we can in any way reduce the amount a county resident has to pay for anything, this would be the way to go.”
The Fountain Hill neighborhood offers residents an organized, district-wide garbage and recycling collection program. The program has its pros and cons, and some residents of the district who are unhappy with the cost believe they can be better served if they choose their own freight forwarder and pay, as does the neighboring city of Bethlehem.
Leo Atkinson, president of the district council, reminded residents of some of the disadvantages of letting residents choose their own carriers.
“Having individual carriers is a major inconvenience for residents. I hear it from people in Bethlehem all the time, ”he said. “Garbage trucks hit their streets every day of the week, not to mention the wear and tear on our streets that our residents pay for anyway when we have to rebuild our streets.”
Rufe, who voted against the motion to accept the republic’s offer, warned the council not to take a decision too quickly and fail to gauge the reaction of the district’s residents. Mayor Carolee Gifford repeated Rufes’ concern.
“I think it would be wise for us to have some kind of residential opinion on this matter,” said Rufe.
Atkinson countered by saying that the district council meetings are an appropriate setting for residents to have their voices heard. Councilor Jamie Johnson also noted that with the increasing budgetary discussion in October, the council should take the opportunity to decide on an offer to assist with budgetary decisions later in the month. Councilor Annamarie Jordan also recommended that the council take a decision that evening.
“I get the feeling, but I think it’s our job as the council to make those decisions,” she said.
Fountain Hill’s budget negotiations will continue towards the end of this fiscal year.