Lower Pottsgrove OKs New Trash Contract, with 59% Price Increase in 2022

SANATOGA PA – In a new five-year garbage disposal contract between Lower Pottsgrove and regional freight forwarder JP Mascaro and Sons of Audubon PA approved by the Township Board of Commissioners on Thursday evening (Sept. 24, 2020), annual garbage bills will be paid by residents on the rise by only 1.5 percent in the next year (2021), but then by more than 59 percent in the following year (2022) according to information from manager Ed Wagner.

Wagner states that the annual bill for garbage disposal services paid by residents of residential units will increase during the contract period from the amount raised in May of $ 147.50 to $ 247.82 by May 2025, an increase of 100, $ 32 or an average of $ 20.06 per year. The total contract cost for the community over the five-year period also increases from more than $ 734,000 this year to $ 1.23 million in 2025.

The municipality has one year left for its current contract with Mascaro. The price increase in 2021 under the new contract is similar to that of next year, the last under the existing contract. The price hike in 2022 is inevitable, according to the company, as the costs need to be reimbursed.

The huge increase is partly due to a steady rise in the cost of processing recyclable items, representatives from Mascaro told the board. The domestic and international markets for the sale of recycled materials have declined dramatically since the world’s largest consumer, China, ended a buying frenzy. Local factors, particularly labor costs, also increased prices, said company president Pat Mascaro.

The proposed amount billed to residents each year of the new contract would be, according to Wagner estimates:

  • $ 149.77 in 2021, up $ 2.27 or 1.53 percent year over year;
  • $ 238.67, 2022, up $ 88.90, or 59.3 percent;
  • $ 241.25, 2023, up $ 2.58, or 1.08 percent;
  • $ 243.54, 2024, up $ 2.29, or 0.94 percent; and
  • $ 247.82, 2025, up $ 4.28, or 1.75 percent.

The community’s general fund subsidizes around a third of the total cost of garbage disposal, says Wagner. As a result, this spending will also increase from $ 282,409 this year to $ 475,504 in 2025. The council taxes paid by the owners are a major source of income for the general fund.

All garbage trucks were asked in a legal advertisement published by the municipality in the summer to submit sealed offers for a contract with a term of at least three years and possible extensions of one or two years. The commissioners said they wanted to test the water on contract costs because they knew they had a pillow for a year before being forced to make a decision.

The commissioners admitted that they were doubly surprised when the bids were due on August 10. They found that Mascaro was the only company interested in tendering for a full five-year term with no renewals.

Trend in price increases for garbage transport elsewhere

Board members said they are considering keeping the final year of the contract and seeking bids again later in 2021 in hopes of better results. The company reported that it was possible that the price hike in 2022 and total contract cost would increase even further with a one-year delay.

According to Trash Committee members Robert Mohollen and Michael McGroarty, the only remaining choice was to abandon a township contract and allow residents to individually select and do business with garbage trucks.

However, Mohollen and McGroarty told their colleagues there was no guarantee that any independents would offer prices better than Mascaro’s. They also suggested that local residents hiring a number of businesses could lead to garbage truck traffic somewhere on the streets of the community on a daily basis, rather than handling all of the trash in a single day, Monday.

“We were initially shocked” by the numbers, Mohollen admitted Thursday, but when investigating the problem, he and McGroarty found that local and national garbage costs were generally higher overall, and in some cases significantly. New contracts between municipalities and freight forwarders signed elsewhere showed similar increases.

In the end, McGroarty said, Mascaro’s long and universally successful history with the community convinced commissioners “to be ready to roll the dice” and approve the new contract “in the best interests of taxpayers.”

Photo by manfredrichter via Pixabay, used under license

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