‘No bones about it’

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Pennington officials recommend recycling shared services agreement with county despite increases

Pennington faces increases for curbside pickup of recycling material with a proposed new shared services agreement with the Mercer County Improvement Authority.

If approved by the Pennington Council, the new five-year agreement would start in January 2024 and conclude Dec. 31, 2028.

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For 2024, Pennington would pay close to $80,000 for the pickup of recycling material, which will increase to $85,416 in 2025.

In 2026, the amount increases to $92,000 for the first option year, followed by $99,000 on the second option year in 2027, and $106,119 for the third option year in 2028.

The increases were discussed this month at Pennington Council’s June 5 meeting.

“Basically, the market for other than paper has declined dramatically,” Borough Administrator Donato Nieman said. “It is costing the county to dispose of material to recycle as opposed to having it purchased.”

Nieman added that they are hitting all of the municipalities with a shared services agreement based upon the demand.

“They made no bones about it,” he said. “They [County officials] said, ‘yes yours is doubling’ and every municipality is experiencing the same thing in Mercer County.”

Rick Smith, superintendent of Public Works, did look into whether Pennington could bring the recycling operation in house, according to Nieman.

“But just the cost of a truck alone to handle it and the staffing would exceed the cost that we are experiencing from the county,” Nieman said. “So, he and I discussed it and recommend staying with the county.”

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