New Paltz residents who prefer their garbage picked up at home will be required to do business with County Waste as of June 1, or just bring their trash to the recycling center on Clearwater Road. Town and village officials voted May 9 to move forward with a plan that will give that company the only license to pick up residential waste for five years. There was also a public hearing on one aspect of the plan.
While the public hearing only concerned the licensing of waste haulers in the town, council members opted to continue it at the joint town-village meeting because of the larger issue of one of community interest.
Terry Merrill told officials that she’s in support; she’d been planning on asking her neighbors to negotiate with just one company for her dead-end street because her morning walks have become decidedly less pleasant in recent years. With at least one truck picking up nearly every day of the week, she said that she “could not take the fumes.”
County Waste will have the right to contract with residents for the first five years, and Merrill also recalled investigating their recycling practices. She had been ready to cancel service when she observed recycling and garbage being tossed in the same opening of the trucks, but after a conversation with the company’s recycling manager she was satisfied and changed her mind.
Village business owner Kathy Frizzell repeated comments she’s made before, namely that this might be a good idea if the billing and relations with the company were handled by municipal staff. Her reasoning: a resident might want residential pickup, but have any number of reasons to prefer not to do business directly with a particular company.
Stacy Delarede, one of the town’s building inspectors, raised questions about how the licensing law is worded. She pointed out that the hours for legally picking up the trash are specified not in the law, but the franchise agreement, which means that future town officials could rewrite those rules without holding a public hearing and passing a new law.
Ensuring accountability to noise standards is one benefit touted of having a single authorized carrier in the community. Within the village, the mandated 7 a.m. start time has proven difficult to enforce, but the agreement with County Waste would include penalties for early pickups.
Village resident Leonard Loza pointed out that early pickups are in part a response to the 2 p.m. closure of the county-run transfer station on Clearwater Road. He suggested asking officials of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency to keep that facility open later. According to information on the UCRRA web site, the New Paltz location is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and closes at noon on Saturdays.
Highway superintendent Chris Marx sought to downplay the benefit to local roads. He agreed that the heavy trucks take a toll, but said that reducing garbage trucks is not a “cure all.” Rather, “the biggest issue is roads getting patched, not repaired.” Marx said that state transportation officials have “zero dollars for repair,” which is supported by observing the condition of state roads in the community. Marx added that he hasn’t the budget to pave any town roads this year, either.
Town council members will pass the licensing law at their next meeting, after the text is finalized, but all the other details for this garbage experiment to begin are now in place.