Allentown council seeks lower cost for recycling effort

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ALLENTOWN – Members of the Allentown Borough Council have decided to use a new recycling facility when the borough’s current three-year contract with Central Jersey Recycling has expired.

Council members passed a resolution stating their intentions during a meeting on Feb. 11.

According to the resolution, the rate at a recycling facility that is expected to be built at the Monmouth County Reclamation Center, Tinton Falls, will be $89 per ton for single-steam recycling or $40 per ton for dual-stream recycling with drop-off.

The council said plans call for a new recycling facility to be built by 2021 and that Allentown has been offered the ability to use the facility at $89 per ton for single-stream recycling, and if the borough can provide dual-stream drop-off the price will be $40 per ton.

This agreement would “be a huge cost saving to the borough because it currently pays $229 per ton,” according to the resolution.

Borough Engineer Carmela Roberts has recommended that due to the cost savings per ton and the volatility of the recycling market, that Allentown should have its attorney look into the requirements of the contract to determine the important considerations of the borough, including whether the commitment made is now binding and timing the end with the borough’s current contract, according to the resolution.

Borough Attorney Greg Cannon has recommended moving forward with the commitment and the Buildings and Grounds Standing Committee also recommended participating in the program, according to the resolution.

According to a Monmouth County spokeswoman, county officials initiated a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process more than 18 months ago for firms that would be interested in submitting a proposal to design, build, operate, finance and lease property from the county for the purpose of building a recycling processing plant on county property at the reclamation center in Tinton Falls.

Five firms responded to the RFQ and their qualification statements were reviewed by a county review panel. Out of the five responses, two firms were deemed qualified to receive a Request for Proposal (RFP).

One of the two firms that were selected to receive an RFP declined to submit a proposal and dropped out of the process because that firm wanted the county to guarantee tonnage for the recycling plant, which the county would not do, according to the spokeswoman.

The county’s position was that the recycling process is a municipal responsibility in which municipalities contract for the collection and delivery of recyclable materials to whichever transfer station the vendor they selected chooses or whichever transfer station the municipality contracts with. The county has no role in that, according to the spokeswoman.

The process left Atlantic Coast Recycling as the remaining respondent to the RFP.

The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders passed a resolution on Nov. 7, 2019 designating Atlantic Coast Recycling as the most advantageous proposer and authorized county representatives to negotiate a contract that would be considered by the freeholders.

The contract terms have been negotiated, but they have not been formally presented to the freeholders at this point in time, according to the spokeswoman.

The spokeswoman said Monmouth County “is not and will not be a recycling carrier; it is up to the municipality to choose a carrier, the county is not in that business.”

In other business at the Feb. 11 meeting, Borough Council members appointed two members of the Allentown High School Greenbirds organization as liaisons to the Allentown Environmental Commission.

In a resolution, the governing body said the environmental commission benefits from having a relationship with the students at Allentown High School through the Greenbirds and that the appointment of the liaisons is supported by Nancy Tindall, who chairs the commission.

The council appointed Kimberly Heissler and Sydney Schubel as the Greenbirds’ liaisons to the environmental commission for terms that will expire on Dec. 31.