Reading City Council OKs single-hauler trash program | Berks Regional News
READING, PA. Reading City Council voted 5-2 on Monday evening to pass an ordinance requiring all properties with a maximum of six units to participate in municipal garbage services.
Council members Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz and Melissa Ventura rejected the action.
The vote means that the city administration will now be able to make requests for proposals for a single garbage truck.
The city currently has contracts with Republic Waste Services, but is offering residents the option of renting their own private garbage trucks.
The current contract expires at the end of this year.
Around 20% of city residents have contracts with private garbage trucks.
The original regulation, which was introduced in early June, called for properties with four or fewer units.
Councilor Donna Reed tabled an amendment on Monday to increase the number to six.
“I believe a lot of our problems stem from rental properties,” Reed said. “Those who have multiple units in a duplex are some of the causes of what is happening in the city.”
Alderman Stratton P. Marmarou attempted another change that would limit municipal litter to downtown and allow the outskirts to continue to contract with private freight forwarders. This change request failed.
Marmarou has spoken out against the idea of municipal garbage collection at every meeting since the regulation was introduced, but he has voted to approve the regulation without any explanation.
“Check the districts to see where you have the garbage problems,” Marmarou said before the vote. “It’s like policing. We go where things are, and that’s us [currently] do not do. “
Cepeda-Freytiz said the council made the decision.
“I think we should have used a one-year extension [of the current contract] to enforce what we have not enforced in the past, “said Cepeda-Freytiz.” There were so many things we could have done now. We could have used this year as a pilot program to create an efficient waste program. “
Council Chairman Jeffrey Waltman disagreed.
“This is the very last process that has ever been accelerated,” said Waltman. “It’s been kicked around, stopped and reorganized for 20 years. I know it’s new to you (addressed to Cepeda-Freytiz), but it’s not new to the city. We have to be able to move forward.”
Councilor Lucine Sihelnik reminded the city council that as part of the exit strategy for Law 47 for cities in need, there was a statement stating that the city council was thinking too long about issues and delaying decision-making.
The city council accepted contributions from residents last month, including last week in a virtual town hall. In addition, the council heard from two residents before the vote.
Resident Ernest Herbein Schlegel encouraged the council to approve the regulation.
“A single-stream transportation system has been introduced in hundreds of communities across the United States,” Schlegel said. “The measure would be another tool to fight illegal dumping.”
Resident John Zatratz told the council that he was frustrated by the whole process.
“I don’t think you looked at it closely and it wasn’t fair,” said Zatratz. “I’m going to form a coalition to petition one [voter] Referendum. You should appreciate the people you bring into office and listen to the voices of the residents. “
Lancaster Mayoress Danene Sorace sent a written message to support the municipal garbage.
“My support is based on our experience in the City of Lancaster after we made a similar change in 2006,” said Sorace. “Before implementation, the disjoint system was estimated [of 24 trash haulers] Up to 4,000 residents were left without a contract freight forwarder. A decade on, illegal dumping has decreased dramatically, allowing us to redirect our resources to more proactive efforts. “
Reed said Reading City Council had received more data from the administration than ever before.
“We have to make a decision and have political courage,” said Reed. “It shouldn’t even be a big problem because we’re not breaking what the majority believe in. It will be a minor blow to the private hauliers, but keep in mind that they do business all over Berks County and beyond. “
Mayor Eddie Moran said he introduced the idea of a one-tug system to put everyone in Reading first while putting politics aside.
“This initiative is one of many things that will take place to address the problem of garbage in our community,” said Moran.
On another matter, the council voted 4: 3 in favor of a proposed amendment to the November vote to remove residency requirements for all department heads, offices and agencies, including the general manager.
Cepeda-Freytiz, Marmarou, and Ventura advocated maintaining the residence requirements.
Under city law, all city department heads must currently move to the city within one year of their appointment.
An alternative referendum question, which would only have waived the residence requirements with the approval of the city council, was rejected 4: 3, with Cepeda-Freytiz, Marmarou and Ventura voting in favor.
Ceppeda-Freytiz argued that department heads should be fully invested in the city.
“It is [residency] Every applicant should know what our standards are, “she said.” We need to encourage and incentivize people to buy real estate. [Residency] is more of a guaranteed thing, there will be more of a connection with the people of the city. “
Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz said elimination of residence would be inconsistent with a waiver.
“If you look at everything the council has on their plate, looking at waivers would take so much time and be inconsistent,” she said. “It would never be a clear policy and we would get stuck in unnecessary trifles.”