As most residents are already aware, we recently began the process of requesting bids for our Municipal Solid Waste collection contract. We know many residents have been unhappy with the current trash collection and its inherent problems regarding missed collections and delays. As your neighbors, we have been faced with the same issues at our own homes and share your frustration.
The Township sent bid packages out to all the major trash companies that service this area and allowed a 60-day response period to promote competition. One of the major trash collection companies in the area we had hoped would provide that competition during the bidding process has chosen not to submit any bids for residential trash pick-up since the COVID period hit.
The time has come to award the contract, as this is a necessary service that MUST be provided to our residents, and it is regrettable that only one company submitted a bid.
The bid for trash collection services from the current trash collection company, Republic Trash Services, was in the amount of $822,030 for the first year. This reflects a significant increase of $363,138 over the previous contract amount of $458,892.
Republic referenced the difficulties they were faced with due to Covid related staffing issues, as well as recognition of the frequent vehicle breakdown issues that arose due to the aging of their own fleet of vehicles.
Additionally, the previous contract was a flat amount for each of the five years and had no escalation clause. They indicated that resulted in the company losing over $100,000 a year during the last several years of the contract. While the trash company’s operational difficulties are of little consequence to our residents, we feel it necessary to share this information in the interest of transparency.
As we move forward, there will be no changes to the following services rendered with the award of the new contract:
· This new trash contract will not alter the current pickup schedule for the township.
· Bulk trash will continue to be picked up on each trash day, which is something we know residents appreciate as a unique convenience differing from other nearby towns where bulk collection only occurs once a month.
· Republic will continue to be responsible for maintaining and replacing damaged trash collection receptacles.
On behalf of Mayor Catrambone and all members of Council, we are NOT pleased to have to award this contract, especially given the issues we experienced with regard to missed collections this past year or the financial impact of such a significant increase in cost. The Township is evaluating the possibility of utilizing funds received under the American Recovery Plan to offset this increase since the major factor for the increase was the onset of the COVID pandemic.
Additionally, thanks to the launch of Recycle Coach this past March; we are encouraged to have a helpful new method available to track missed collections and other issues. We want to encourage ALL Delran residents to report any issues they have through Recycle Coach, which can be done from the app on their smartphone or directly on the township website. This will help us provide a more detailed and comprehensive method of documentation, as well as holding Republic responsible if they do not adhere to their promise of addressing a missed collection within 24 hours’ notice.
Finally, while we are awarding this contract to Republic as the ONLY bidder, we will be taking the next three years of this contract to investigate every possible alternative; including, but not limited to:
· Evaluating the cost effectiveness of providing Municipal Solid Waste collection by Delran Public Works (in house), without compromising quality of service.
· Looking at smaller trash companies that may serve this area in a more cost-effective way and assessing if their services offer the quality we ultimately want for our residents.
· Meeting with other townships and municipalities in the State of NJ to see if there are other bold practical solutions to this issue.
Again, as your Mayor and Council, we would like to remind you that we are also your neighbors, and your frustrations are our frustrations, especially when it comes to the services we receive and the taxes we pay. We will continue to work diligently to ensure the best long-term solution and outcome for everyone.