Dunbar Twp. enacts mandatory garbage collection

| Thursday, June 7, 2012, 11:35 p.m.

After months of debate, Dunbar Township supervisors voted Thursday night to enact a mandatory garbage ordinance that has generated overwhelming opposition from township residents.

Township chairman John Tabaj explained that the ordinance will require each of the township's 3,000 homes and businesses to select a garbage hauler of his or her choice in order to comply with the legal requirements. Residents who violate the ordinance will be subject to fines and penalties outlined in the ordinance, he said.

Township solicitor Tim Witt said the ordinance will go into effect five days after it was enacted. At that time, Witt said supervisors and the township code enforcement officer can begin enforcing the ordinance.

Tabaj said the adoption of the ordinance is the first step toward supervisors considering entering into a contract with one garbage company.

"I'm leaning in that direction, but it takes at least two of the three supervisors to make a decision," Tabaj said. "I'm really not sure if we have the votes we need at this time."

Before supervisors took action on the ordinance, residents again voiced their opposition.

Jeff Gallo said he did not believe requiring mandatory garbage collection in Dunbar Township would resolve any problems.

"We're just going to be facing another monthly bill that we cannot afford," Gallo told the supervisors. "If you ride down the Leisenring-Vanderbilt Road, you will see furniture and appliances thrown along the roadway. Giving a person another bill to pay isn't going to get rid of this problem. We don't even know if the people who are throwing these appliances around live in Dunbar Township."

Gallo said he will not pay a garbage truck to drive past his house.

Bob Ritchie said he was opposed to the garbage ordinance because he doesn't think "it's specific enough."

"A lot of things need to be reassessed to help prevent the littering problem in Dunbar Township," Ritchie said.

Rick Martin said he believes township residents should have a right to select their own garbage company.

Supervisor Ron Keller said the garbage ordinance is needed so the township can apply for state and federal grant funding if it becomes available.

In other business:

• Supervisors announced that construction work will begin Monday on the Monarch Bridge. Keller said the total cost of the project is estimated at $78,000. The township recently received a $75,000 grant for the bridge construction from state Sen. Richard Kasunic. The township's share is about $3,000.

The bridge project is expected to be completed within six to eight weeks, Tabaj said.

• The township hired Delisi & Associates of Greensburg to conduct a single audit for 2010 at a cost of $9,000. Witt said the audit is necessary because the township completed the Falls Avenue Bridge project in 2009 at a total cost of $1.2 million. The federal government provided 80 percent of the funding, while the state's share was 15 percent. The township paid 5 percent of the project cost.

"The township spent $750,000 on the project in one year, and that's why the extensive audit is required," Witt said.

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