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Latrobe Council weighs options on handling trash

| Thursday, May 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Latrobe Council plans to increase some of the rates at the city's trash transfer station while considering two bids for contracts for hauling trash and operating the facility.

During an agenda meeting Tuesday, Councilman Richard Jim said the refuse collection committee plans to recommend that rates for minimum charges be increased from $8 for the first 200 pounds to $12. A per-pound fee of a little more than 4 cents per pound will then be levied for amounts up to one ton, following the previous policy.

The committee will recommend retaining the cost per ton at $95.

City officials opened two bids May 22 for a five-year contract combining garbage collection and residential recycling, in addition to operating the transfer station at 696 Mission Road.

Advanced Disposal of Brockway was the apparent low bidder at a total of $13.6 million, consisting of $6.4 million for the first five years and $7.1 million for the next five option years.

Allied Waste Services of Scottdale, the city's current hauler, proposed a $14.5 million contract consisting of $6.8 million for the first five years and $7.7 million for another five-year option.

Council member Ken Baldonieri said both bids should be closely considered before council makes a decision.

“I think we have to take a real hard look at the two bids and the implications they'll have on residential customers,” he said.

Through the bid from Allied Waste, residential rates would increase from $12.40 to $13.70 in the fifth year of the contract, up from the current $12 rate.

Baldonieri said even though the Advanced Waste bid is lower overall, residential rates would have a larger increase, to $14.28 in the first year, with gradual increases to $15.14 in the fifth year.

“For the benefit of the few — those using the over-the-scales service — many will suffer,” he said. “We've got to make sure we're comparing apples to apples in this case.”

The Allied Waste contract includes provisions for one full-time employee to monitor the transfer station and safety upgrades required by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Those stipulations were not clear in Advanced's bid, city manager Alex Graziani said.

Jim said even if residential rates are increased, the inclusion of recycling should decrease the amount of waste and therefore decrease the number of bags and stickers residents need to purchase.

He said even with an increase, Latrobe's rates will remain well below Unity's rate of $25 per month for trash collection, although the township does not have a single contracted hauler.

By contracting services at the transfer station, two employees will be available for other public works projects, Jim said.

The committee and Graziani will meet Thursday with the labor union that represents the seven workers affected by a new service contract.

Originally, the city hoped by contracting the hauling services, funds could be saved and used elsewhere, but there are no plans to lay off workers.

“The savings is really only realized when you lay off staff,” Graziani said. “In a true savings sense, you would lay off staff, and that's where the savings is seen.”

Councilwoman Rosie Wolford said she was still unclear about the differences between the two proposals, including liability issues. She said a special meeting open to the public should be held to discuss them. No date was set.

Latrobe looks to the transfer station, which handles items such as tires and building materials, as well as roll-off container rental services, to boost income as Graziani reported 1.9 percent more in expenditures for the city's budget than expected for the first quarter of 2013 and 4.9 percent lower revenue.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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