With the Town of North Branford’s trash contract expiring at the end of the month, presented the Town Council with several options for moving ahead and summaries of the bids received at the .
Several members of the Town Council, however, expressed that they were not comfortable voting on awarding a contract as they didn’t feel they had enough information on the subject.
“I know nothing of trash besides I put it in the can, bring it to the curb, it goes away and I bring the cans back in,” said Councilman Joseph Faughnan. “The reservation I’m left with is I’m voting somewhat blindly and that concerns me.”
After much discussion, the Town Council approved a motion to award an automated collection and disposal contract to pending a review of the draft contract to be presented by Branigan and Town Attorney John Gesmonde.
In the past, due to agreements with the CRRA, the town had to have separate collection and disposal contracts. With those agreements expiring, the town can now North Branford can now have its collection and disposal bundled in one contract.
The town began expected proposals on May 14 with several bids received, though the bid from City Carting, Inc. was reviewed and determined to be non-responsive. Branigan then reported there were several options for the town.
Covanta (in Wallingford) submitted a five-year disposal-only bid with fees that would increase every year. Branigan noted that the town produces about 5,500 tons of trash each year.
“That bid doesn’t work because you have to have someone do the collection and get it there,” said Branigan.
He went on to share that All-Waste out of Hartford submitted a bid for automated trash collection for $655,000. The town would then have to pay $59/ton for disposal for an approximate pricetage of $1,000,000/year.
John’s Refuse, which has handled the town’s collection for the past two years, submitted several scenarios in its bid, which is a five-year agreement. The options included continuing service as it is now (collection only) or a combined package with disposal. The company also offered an automated collection service, with or without disposal.
“The results are fairly clear,” said Branigan, referencing a checklist. “It’s cheaper to go with John’s Refuse and they’re willing to work with the town on improving and encouraging recycling.”
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Automated or Traditional Collection
The bid from John’s Refuse included the cost of the necessary toters for both recycling and trash for town residents. At the end of the five-year contract, the town would own the toters for $1.
Residents will be surveyed about their waste production and appropriately sized toters will be distributed. Andrew Bozzuto of John’s Refuse was on hand to answer several questions and explain the process. Councilwoman Joanne Wentworth worried about residents being about to handle the containers.
“They’re basically plastic barrels with wheels so residents can roll them in and out very easily,” said Bozzuto. “Right now about 30 percent of residents have come and purchased our barrels.”
Bozzuto said John’s Refuse would purchase the 9,000 barrels at a cost of about $500,000, pointing out that, with the town owning the barrels at the end of the contract, “I’m less than I was before. I want to provide you with barrels at the end of the contract because I’m a true town resident and care about the future of the town.”
Several Council members wondered about the amount of trash and what would happen if there’s more trash than fits in the toters or how bulky items are disposed of.
“We take it all,” said Bozzuto. “We’re responsible for everything on the curb.”
Councilman Vin Caprio saw many benefits to the automated collection.
“It will keep the town a lot neater,” he said. “Since automated is not going to cost us any more money, it’s definitely the way to go.”
Bozzuto also shared his excitement for the future of the town’s recycling program, saying that “up to 75 percent of what we put in there is recyclable. I cannot wait to take our schools and make them the example of how much we can recover.”
Branigan stated that 15 percent of the town’s solid waste is generated by the schools, accounting for about $100,000 of the tipping fees.
“If we’re taking the tonnage to Covanta and the vendor is just picking it up, there’s no incentive for the vendor to recycle,” said Branigan. “[With a collection and disposal contract], the more they can recycle, the more they save.”
While Bozzuto alleviated most of the Council’s concerns about the actual collection, most members expressed frustration in the process.
“It’s a lot to ask us to look at this for five minutes and then vote on it,” said Deputy Mayor Al Rose. “The trash sub-committee was appointed to handle the complaints, not handle the bids. I don’t know how we got to where we are tonight without having the Councilors who are responsible for raising the taxes being more informed.”
Rose stated he does not recall the item being brought before the Council, while Council member Rose Angeloni pointed out it was in a packet before one of the previous meetings.
“I don’t call that presenting it to the Councilors,” said Rose.
Branigan responded that a copy was sent to the Council and that “we needed an objective way to examine the proposals in black and white so the form that looks like this was easiest way to compare them.”
He also explained that the process of finding a new provider began three years ago after the previous contractor was fired and John’s Refuse was hired to carry out the contract until June 30, 2012, when the CRRA contract expired.
There was then confusion on the vendor’s insurance with Branigan explaining that the reason the insurance is not in place yet is because John’s Refuse would need to add a coverage to their insurance should they be selected to handle the disposal end as well.