Reading extends trash contract, maintains citywide pickup | Berks Regional News

READING., Pa. – Reading City Council on Monday approved a one year extension of the city’s current garbage deal with Republic Services.

The extension appears to be delaying the city’s new ordinance for a single city-wide garbage truck, but officials said it was included in the extended contract.

In July, the council approved an ordinance requiring all residential properties with a maximum of six residential units to participate in municipal garbage services. This action empowered the administration to submit requests for proposals for a single carrier.

Managing Director Pedro Cortes told the council that the administration had determined that the proposals received were too costly and required a significant increase in garbage costs in residential areas.

Since the city has been able to negotiate a one-year extension with its current haulier, there will be no increase in garbage costs for residential buildings.

Cortes said the government would seek new bids in spring 2022 and beyond.

Councilors Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz and Melissa Ventura voted against a single hauler in July.

“I voted against the regulation because I believed that we would need a one-year extension to get a buy-in from our community,” said Cepeda-Freytiz. “I’m not trying to pedal, but I’ve learned.”

Cortes clarified the terms of the one-year contract.

“This extension contains the regulation [passed in July]”Said Cortes.” It is not an extension of staying the way we were. “

According to the city’s previous agreement, residents were able to unsubscribe from the city’s garbage service and sign a contract with a private freight forwarder.

The extension only excludes residences that had a documented and valid contract with a private carrier prior to July. However, when a current contract with a private freight forwarder expires, the resident must be part of the municipal garbage collection.

Kevin Lugo, the city’s solid waste and sustainability manager, stated that any resident of the city who does not currently have a private garbage truck will be automatically added to the city service.

“The cost of the actual contract (with Republic Services) has increased slightly, but residents will not pay additional routing costs as extended residents are in the contract,” said Lugo.

Lugo said letters were sent to all city dwellers with recycling services asking them to identify a garbage truck. Those who have not identified a valid carrier will be automatically added to the municipal trash, Lugo said.

Council Chairman Jeffrey Waltman said the decision to extend the contract was a step in the right direction.

“This [extended contract] is a citywide collection, “said Waltman.” I believe that when contracts expire, more will be included in the city program. This is the direction we wanted to go. “

Councilor Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz said she knows voters who refused to fill out a carrier identification form because they were angry with the city’s plan.

“It seems these residents are going to lose their carrier,” she said. “I just have a feeling that there are going to be some angry people around.”

Lugo said letters will be sent to residents in December explaining the situation.

In other businesses, the Council approved the adoption of an ordinance to refinance debt of USD 45 million from bond issues in 2014 and 2015.

CFO Jamal Kelly said the refinancing deal will allow the city to generate savings of about $ 2 million for the 2021 budget.

“We usually distribute savings [on refinancing deals] for years, but this is an odd year because of COVID-19, “said Waltman.” We can reduce that [budget] Loophole, but it won’t eliminate the need for a tax hike. “

Earlier this month, the council learned that the $ 92.7 million budget in 2021 will require a tax hike that will increase the millage from the current 17,689 mills to 19,459 mills.

The proposed tax hike would increase property tax by around 10%.

On another matter, the Council agreed to the adoption of a regulation reducing the stadium commission’s board from the current 9 members to 5 members.

The action was requested by members of the commission because the 9-member board made it too difficult to have a quorum of members needed to run the business.

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