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Garbage contract to mean higher fees

| Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004

Penn Hills will pay more for trash collection now that council has approved a three-year, $5.3 million contract with Greenridge Waste Services.

The contract for collection of trash and recyclables with the Scottdale, Westmoreland County, company represents an increased charge to the municipality of $22per household.

Greenridge, which has had the Penn Hills contract since 2001, was low bidder on the contract. Waste Management was the only other bidder.

The contract was approved unanimously Monday. The previous three-year contract was for $3.9 million.

David Smith, general manager of Greenridge Waste Services, said increases in fuel and labor costs led to the increased charge to the municipality. The new contract takes effect Oct. 1, Smith said.

Cathy Boyd, purchasing agent for Penn Hills, said she did not know how the increased cost to the municipality would affect the tax rate.

Penn Hills still is without a budget for 2004.

Voting on a proposed tax increase of 1.25 mills that would raise the Penn Hills property tax rate to 3.85 mills has been delayed since January. Were that tax rate to pass, the Penn Hills property tax rate would increase by 48 percent.

The owner of a home valued at $100,000 would see the municipal property tax bill increase by $125, to $385.

To make ends meet, officials are drawing operating money from the municipality's $8 million in capital accounts, plus revenue from the earned income tax and sewer user fees.

Acting manager John Schrecengost has warned that Penn Hills could get into financial difficulty if it doesn't send out property tax bills by the end of this month.

Council has been deadlocked most of this year, starting with the swearing-in ceremony of Mayor Anthony DeLuca and Councilwoman Yvonne Lamanna on Jan. 5.

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