On May 3 New Paltz town residents got their first real opportunity to speak out about the plan to award the right to pick up residential garbage to just one company. The occasion was a public hearing on a law to license residential waste haulers.
The plan is to create such a law, and then award only one license to County Waste, the owners of which submitted a bid that would cost residents significantly less than they’re paying now regardless of their present vendor. Those who spoke were not pleased with the plan.
Dan Malinowski called it a “slippery slope” to regulate free market activity in this manner. He warned that, once a company is secure in an exclusive right, rates would rise as surely as they have with cable television. He also asked why, if the weight of trucks on local roads is a concern, oil companies are not being similarly constrained.
Barbara and Bruce Carowell agreed, noting that the right to choose is important and opining that the personal service they receive might not continue under the new scheme.
While this idea has graced the front page of the New Paltz Times more than once since 2016, those attending the meeting said that they felt there was insufficient notice to attend. Written comments may also be submitted, they were told.
Village trustee Dennis Young, who spearheaded this plan, explained that all waste haulers in the county were invited to submit bids, and that the contract being drafted will keep rates at the same level for five years. Thereafter, bids from all companies will again be entertained.
Town supervisor Neil Bettez clarified that there is not actually a monopoly on cable in New Paltz. A franchise agreement with Spectrum is negotiated to allow for use of town rights-of-way for equipment. Bettez has solicited other companies such as Verizon, but has received no interest.
Bettez also noted that, while garbage is picked up regularly and studies indicate that this shift would reduce the number of trucks, it’s different for oil since those deliveries happen when needed.
Malinowski called the “whole premise . . . ridiculous.”