Emmaus Borough Council announced at its Sept. 4 meeting Whitetail Disposal, of Montgomery County, will take over as the borough’s refuse and recycle hauler starting next year.
The new trash hauler will also come with a new schedule, which will involve splitting up the trash and recycling pick up over a three day period in Emmaus. Councilman Jeff Shubzda said this will make it easier for trucks to get in and out of Emmaus and affect less of the school traffic.
Also included in this new contract, the borough has requested the company hold events for disposal of hazardous household wastes and electronics. Per the contract, the borough can hold the hazardous waste pickup event up to four times a year if needed. The borough will not have to pay for any event not held.
President Brent Labenberg said this is a “needed service” in the borough and there were a lot of requests and support for this type of pickup in the survey residents completed.
Borough Manager Shane Pepe said all of the bids submitted were higher than the borough’s previous refuse cost from 2018 which was roughly $798,000. The first year with Whitetail will cost $933,760, the second year $944,350 and the third year $977,970.
Pepe said while this is over a $150,000 increase from the borough’s previous contract, these prices were still the lowest out of the four bids received. He said there were a variety of reasons the bids came in higher than previous years, one being the recycling market. At the Aug. 20 council meeting, it was noted in the committee meeting notes, “the recycling market has completely sunk, thus making it more expensive for haulers to collect recycling, with no profit for most.”
Representatives from the trash haulers with the three lowest bids were interviewed for 30 minutes at the last health, sanitation and codes committee meeting. These haulers include Whitetail Disposal, Republic Services and the borough’s current hauler J.P. Mascaro & Sons. Between interviews and debates on which hauler to choose, the meeting went for over three and a half hours.
“What we looked at was what we felt the best option for the borough and community would be, based on service and based on price,” Pepe said.
“I also want to reiterate that throughout the entire process, from the bid spec, to every addendum, to the review of the haulers, our legal council was involved in the entire process,” Pepe said. “Before we went and said these haulers were eligible, their bids were eligible, our legal counsel reviewed and made sure they met all of the requirements in the bid, and we want to make sure everyone is aware of that.”
The process regarding the refuse and recycling contract and bidding started back in March with the writing of the now over 100-page bid spec. The health, sanitation and codes committee spent countless hours coming up with items they wanted in the bid specs, researching and going through surveys residents completed on what they wanted to see with the new trash hauler.
Pepe said there were some things asked in the survey such as two day trash pickup that didn’t get enough support to really consider looking into the option. He also said two day trash pickup would have added at least an additional $300,000 to the total.
Shubzda, who is head of the health, sanitation and codes committee, wanted to note this decision was not taken lightly and was not made off of any personal feelings, social media hype or newspaper articles which have appeared over the last several months. Shubzda was referring to the issues happening over the course of the past several months regarding the borough’s current trash hauler J.P. Mascaro.
“We interviewed the three companies and they all had some great ideas, some great things they were doing and gave us a lot of different options,” Shubzda said.