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Latrobe to seek trash hauler

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Latrobe wants to hire a refuse hauler to collect the city's garbage and recyclables over a 10-year period, as well as transport to a landfill all garbage that is collected at the city's transfer station.

Council on Monday approved a resolution to advertise for the bids for a refuse hauler, open the bids in May, and award the contract in June or July. The contract would take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, replacing a refuse hauling pact that expires on Dec. 31.

Councilman Richard Jim, a member of the refuse collection committee, said the decision to require the refuse hauler to dispose of trash taken to the city's transfer station, while retaining the billing services, would be the best deal for Latrobe. The contract would require the refuse hauler to offer residents the option of buying stickers for trash bags.

“I think it will save us money,” Jim said.

In addition, the city will give the contracted hauler use of 3.2 acres of unpaved city property at the station on Mission Road, Jim said. The hauler could not interfere with the public works department at the site, cannot compete with the city in the operation of its transfer station and cannot violate Latrobe's permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection, Jim said.

Council approved advertising for bids, though it does not yet have a financial analysis of transfer station operations. That prompted Councilwoman Rosie Wolford to cast the lone vote against advertising for bids.

“The bids are worthless if we don't know what the cost is. I want to know the profitability of the transfer station,” Wolford said.

Joseph Bush, public works director, said he believes the city needs to know the transfer station operating costs before it seeks bids from a garbage hauler.

City Manager Alex Graziani said the operating costs should be calculated by the time the bids are compiled.

The city charges customers $28 per ton to dump refuse at the transfer station, but bears the cost of compacting the trash and transporting it to an approved landfill.

Councilman Robert Forish said it costs the city about $95 each time the truck disposes the trash at a landfill. The cost includes fuel, employee wages and landfill fees.

By privatizing the refuse transportation to a landfill, the city would be able to transfer two employees to the public works department, Forish said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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