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Englishtown officials consider solid waste utility as garbage issue looms

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ENGLISHTOWN – Municipal officials have proposed the establishment of a solid waste utility that would handle the collection and disposal of garbage and recyclable materials in Englishtown.

On Jan. 26, Borough Council members voted 4-2 to introduce an ordinance that will, if adopted, create the solid waste utility.

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Council President Gregory Wojyn and council members Eric Mann, Dan Marter and Cecilia Robilotti voted “yes” on a motion to introduce the ordinance.

Councilmen Daniel Francisco and William Lewis voted “no” on the motion.

The ordinance will be considered for adoption at an upcoming council meeting.

Mayor Thomas Reynolds emphasized that the council’s vote to introduce the ordinance did not establish the solid waste utility, but will allow the members of the governing body to vote on the utility’s creation before Englishtown’s current waste disposal contract with Suburban Disposal expires on Feb. 28.

The issue of waste disposal was initially raised by Reynolds during the governing body’s Dec. 20 meeting. The mayor said Englishtown would not be able to afford its waste disposal contract in 2022 due to cost increases.

Reynolds said the operators of Suburban Disposal have granted the borough a three-month extension on the current waste disposal contract. He told the council members that in order to ensure the continued collection and disposal of garbage and recyclable materials, they may have to create a solid waste utility.

“The solid waste utility (would be) just like our water and sewer bill,” Reynolds said. “Residents would get a bill (based on) the contract we pick, which will be the cheapest rate for all the people.”

Reynolds said another option that is available in Englishtown would be to allow residents to hire their own contractor to collect and dispose of garbage and recyclable materials.

“(The contractors) are squeezing us. We understand we are in tough times, we are trying not to raise the budget, but we do have some huge increases for (2022). We are trying to put the least amount of problems on individual taxpayers, but we are between a rock and a hard place.

“Some hard decisions are going to have to be made in the next three months on all operations to at least keep the municipality solid and have Englishtown remain as it is,” Reynolds said.

Following the mayor’s comments in December, the possible establishment of a solid waste utility was discussed again at the council’s Jan. 26 meeting.

Reynolds said the establishment of a solid waste utility would allow for lower costs from contractors. He did not support the option of having residents pursue individual waste collection agreements.

However, Francisco said he believes Englishtown’s representatives could negotiate a better contract by declining those currently being offered.

“Once (the waste collection companies) learn there won’t be a contract, suddenly five to seven are willing to come do business,” he said.

Francisco advocated for allowing residents to contract for their waste collection and disposal services on an individual basis.

“We are a small town and we are trying to create more bureaucracy and more costs,” the councilman said. “We are not worried about people cutting their lawns, people hire landscapers. Just let people go contract with these (waste collection) companies.”

Mann said if officials were not satisfied with the waste disposal contracts being offered, introducing the solid waste utility ordinance would prevent the collection and disposal of waste from being halted on March 1.

He said if Englishtown receives a better contract offer, the members of the governing body could reject the solid waste utility ordinance.

Officials subsequently went into executive (closed) session to draft the ordinance. The governing body returned to public session and introduced the solid waste utility ordinance in the 4-2 vote.

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