Freeport businesses upset with new trash contractor's fees
By Kate Wilcox
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Freeport business owners aren't happy with the borough's new trash collection contract.
Several owners of businesses and nonprofits complained to borough council on Monday that their collection fees have jumped as much as 300 percent.
Council recently changed trash collection companies, signing a contract with Vogel Disposal Service for borough trash collection.
Council members discovered that the previous waste company, Marrow Refuse, did not have set fees for commercial customers. Instead, it charged different fees to nearly every business and non profit in the borough, ranging from $20 to $60, council President Don Rehner said.
“I can't speak for why they did that,” he said.
Phyllis Hudek, owner of The Rainbow bar and restaurant in Freeport, said the new price she pays for pickup is triple what it was with Marrow.
Council chose a waste management contract based on the lowest price for residential pickup, Rehner said.
But the commercial fees were raised for almost every business, bringing irate businesses owners to the council meeting.
Council had to take into consideration the cost to the borough's 800 residential customers — $12 per month — and not the cost to the 20 businesses, Rehner said. Vogel's bid totalled about $7,000 less than Marrow's.
Vogel charges $70 a month for a 4-cubic-yard commercial trash container.
Commercial customers contract with the trash company separately from the borough contract for curbside pickup.
Jim Bollinger, officer of the Freeport VFW, asked council to allow businesses to be able to choose their own waste company.
“You took the cheapest bid, and the borough is benefiting on this,” he said. “The only cost going up is for nonprofit organizations or whoever has to purchase a Dumpster.”
Freeport Eagles paid a collection fee of $270 a year with Marrow and now pays $1,020 a year.
“That's not fair to us,” Hudek said.
Solicitor Gerald DeAngelis said that separating commercial customers would be difficult because the borough would need to ensure that those businesses were having trash removed.
He said that council will look into whether commercial customers are paying twice — for a large container pickup fee and a curb fee.
“I think that's something we can address,” DeAngelis said.
In other business
Rehner said he received a call from PNC Bank officials about its Freeport operation.
“The letter we wrote did get some response from PNC,” he said.
The bank will be leaving its downtown Freeport location as of Feb. 24, leaving the borough without a bank.
Rehner said that Farmers and Merchants Bank has shown interest in the space. PNC agreed to put the building up for sale, but not until it closes in February.
Kate Wilcox is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
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