Not everyone is happy about New Paltz’s single-trash hauler plan

(Photo by Lauren Thomas)

As of June 1, New Paltz became a one-garbage-truck town. Town and village officials — after passing a town law to make it possible to move in lockstep — have signed a five-year franchise agreement with County Waste, now the only company authorized to collect residential garbage. There have been some hiccups, and not everyone in town is pleased with the decision.

June will be a “grace period,” according to village trustee Dennis Young, to allow contracts to expire and new agreements to be signed. That’s the reason why trucks and containers from other companies are still lingering around the community. No one is required to sign up with County Waste, although the only other option is bringing the trash to the town’s facility on Clearwater Road. For those that do sign up, it will cost $21.87 for a 95-gallon container.

While every company authorized to do business in the county was sent an invitation to bid, only three were received. The Royal Carting bid was for $35.50 a month, while the Waste Management proposal started at $39.50 with a sliding scale that dropped to $29.50 if 1,600 residents were to sign up.

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Representatives of Royal Carting asked for full rebidding of the project after they learned that the County Waste proposal didn’t include taxes and fees, as theirs had. The municipal attorney consulted disagreed with their analysis, because bid modifications were permitted during the process.

There were also early reports that some residents were being refused refunds on prepayments made under their existing contracts, but both Young and Mayor Tim Rogers confirmed that these issues have since been resolved.

Nevertheless, not everyone’s happy. Todd Wiedenkeller might feel the strongest, having paid for an ad to express his views in last week’s New Paltz Times, arguing that the process — already used in other communities — may well be unconstitutional. Margorie Weiner collected petition signatures when she learned of the plan, but her attempts to get the idea scuttled were unsuccessful.

“I want to believe that more people are opposed than it may immediately appear (based on very little turnout at the town meeting),” Weiner wrote when reached for comment. “I have a suspicion that many residents may be unaware that this law has been passed. It appears that our fading democracy has now reached our town. Freedom of choice is apparently not a value embraced by those currently governing at the local level. I remain outraged but am not sure where to go from here. I will certainly continue to use my current hauler until they stop providing the service. If they continue, I will stay with them.”

Weiner’s company is SWDS, based in Bloomington. She expects to save about 45 cents a month when she has to start using County Waste, but she and other customers believes the service through SWDS is superior. According to Young, that company owner declined to submit a bid because of the relatively small market share held in New Paltz. The owner was contacted to find out if he might have reconsidered had he known how close his regular rates are to the low bid, but no response was received by press time.

Barbara Korabel, like Weiner, thinks that there was insufficient notice about this plan, whether through legal notices or press coverage. Also an SWDS customer, she claims she is currently paying less than the County Waste proposal. She spoke about the loss of jobs and the loss of freedom of choice, a common theme. A real estate broker, she also opined that limiting trash collection companies could impact home prices. ” If I wanted to live like that I would have purchased a residence in a homeowners community. If this is progressive New Paltz, what other freedom will be next?”

There are 12 comments

  1. Jim Taylor

    What a load of garbage
    Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and have such a good idea that I write it down. Today, I woke up to a note that just said: Walmart. I guess my epiphany was that we have so many places to shop locally that it just wastes my time and energy. Plus all the wear and tear on our roads — even our potholes have potholes.
    Then with the high prices, what with local merchants offering high-quality products and services, but who can afford all that? Why can’t the town just take bids for the cheapest place to shop and outlaw all those other merchants? I can save them the trouble — it’s probably going to be Walmart, so even though it didn’t make sense before (what were we thinking?) it makes perfect sense now. So let’s hop on this and help everyone save money and time. I’ve only lived here 39 years, so help me out in my golden years and just pick one so I don’t have to have so many choices.
    Just yesterday, I saw several UPS, FedEx, DHL and USPS trucks going down my road — all on the same day. I may have missed some because I was shopping locally. Why not ban Amazon from operating in the town and village, or better yet, take bids and only allow one delivery company. The United States Post Office regularly posts million- and billion-dollar losses, so let’s do ourselves a favor and ban them first and save the country money.
    You know, I’m also thinking since our local government has already shown its willingness to outlaw free trade and competition and hurt small businesses by doing this with our garbage collection, that they should jump on this next and apply it to every service we use. This is such a good idea I’m surprised that President Trump didn’t think of it first, what with him mandating every idiotic thing that pops into his head.
    God, I hope I sleep through the night tonight.
    Jim Taylor
    New Paltz

  2. Steven L Fornal

    Do any of the people in the article or the letter writer understand that the county (UCRRA) will no longer be accepting single stream recyclables? There are a number of waste disposal companies that only do single stream recycling.

    Due to Flow Control legislation passed by the county, all refuse must go to UCRRA. Since UCRRA will no longer be accepting single steam recyclables (due to cost factor for separation making such recyclables economically nonviable) all recyclables now have to be separated.

    Perhaps those other companies mentioned don’t and won’t do such separation, thus why County Waste got the contract. Also, by doing this townwide, the cost per could be reduced.

    And, lest we forget, one can always take their garbage and recyclables to the town transfer station at quite a reduced cost.

  3. Jim Taylor

    Steven L Fornal Thanks for the updated information. That’s just makes this decision all the more curious though. No mention was made of that anywhere by the officials or on the public service infomercial on TV by Don Kerr or Dennis Young. All they mentioned was a single 95 gallon recycling tote. Sure enough that’s what everyone had delivered from County Waste. They are all branded Single Stream Recycling burned in the plastic tote. So I guess the questions become 1) When does UCRRA stop taking single stream recyclables? 2) Is County Waste sorting the recyclables as part of the contract and if not what will the rate rise to when they have to? 3) or will the rate stay fixed and consumers will be offered different bins to sort their own?

    It would seem that Waste Management, Royal Carting, SWDS and all the others will have to follow suite or else not be able to pickup in Ulster County, correct? That would make your point about them not getting the contract moot then. Also it should be up to me as a consumer to choose what I pay vs. what service I get. I pay $5 a month more for SWDS and have been with them forever. I really like their service and they have never missed a pickup.

    The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

    Jim Taylor

  4. Steven L Fornal

    Good questions, Jim. Actually, I wasn’t correct. The county UCRRA hasn’t committed to single stream. They would like to end it as the cost for separation is prohibitive. But, you’re right. If the recyclables remain co-mingled then the cost will definitely go up; no question about that.

    I would think such issues would’ve been put forth by officials. They definitely are at play.

    And, yes, I do wonder why going with one company was mandated. Unless it was a cost factor. Then again, if UCRRA starts charging for sorting recyclables, the cost bid won’t work for the company. So, have to wonder if any such language exists in the contract regarding recyclables and increased sorting costs.

  5. Steven L Fornal

    From today’s Freeman: “Agency officials have said that Kingston, the towns of Ulster and Saugerties, and Welsh Sanitation are the only haulers that bring single-stream recyclables to the agency’s disposal facility on state Route 32 in the town of Ulster

    Petit, who is recycling coordinator for the town of New Paltz, also contends that ending single-stream may make it less likely that some residents will make any attempt to recycle.

    “First of all, we never should have gone to single-stream, I think that was our first mistake,” she said. “We were trying to help the haulers, we thought that it would bring in more recycling.”

    So, good questions, indeed, Jim.

  6. Non-volunteer fireman

    Ya used to be able to go to Town of New Putz dump and recycle to your heart’s content, either laying it in or taking it out. Now, it costs $25, to get thru the telephone pole gate just to get to the “thrift store” to buy something that has been pulled from the dump and being sold back to you.Never heard of a privatized town dump before, town Morello swimming pool “yes” but not a town dump If you wanna recycle go to kingson; Keeps the new town dump bureaucrat in business, though.

    As to the info-commercial being hosted by a fire commissioner/village trustee/public safety official commandeering the public airwave, well, the Village has been doing that since that last century. Thats how they get elected, staying in office and as to the “public”, you have witnesses the privatization of the Common Media.

    The oligarchy-plutocaracy loves it; if you are going to put out crap, may as well load it up?

  7. Carol

    I’m glad about all this because waste management was charging me $35.00 a month for service which I had to pay quarterly instead of monthly and half the time they wouldn’t pick up my trash and wouldn’t credit me for it. Now I’m going to be able to save $9 per month for an annual cost savings of $108 and can pay monthly. Much better.

  8. Big Time

    If you knew about it and didn’t like it, you had to sue within 30 days from the time of the board’s vote on the matter. The government isn’t going to tell you that, you have to know it up front. And if you do sue, and there is merit to your case, and the judge finds precedence, then you will be inundated with phone calls to your cell phone and your house and your place of work until you withdraw your suit, or until you move or until you are appointed the town’s lawyer, the village dissolves itself and the university goes back to being a college.

  9. Trashtalk

    I find this whole garbage thing so disheartening. Why? Because I have to give up a wonderful local company who picked my garbage up every week for a fair price. Now I am forced to give my money-yes, forced-I am not about to schlep my garbage to the dump in my compact car trunk-to a big box company that I despise. This company was charging me $160 per quarter when I cancelled them, and they were missing pick-ups. It’s like the bully wins and nice guys finish last. The smaller company who gave great service was not in a position to compete in price against the big box hauler. Kind of like Adams vs. Walmart. Apparently, New Paltz government operates with different values these days than in the past. Oh, but hey, you get to save a couple bucks. So, shop local- but not when it comes to garbage haulers.

  10. Anon

    I am actually quite envious of most of the people commeting on this thread. I just bought my home in new paltz and tried to get service from county waste because I have no other choice, and after 2 weeks I cancelled the same service because they never delivered the bins to me. Yet they expected me to pay.

  11. Jim Taylor

    Carol, Since you were an existing customer of Waste Manglement I appreciate your comments on how crappy the service and customer service was/is. I think the fact that you will now be saving $108 for that crappy service is nothing to be happy about however. As a very satisfied customer of SWDS for many many years I really hate that my town that is so proud of not letting Walmart come here and hurt the local business economy stands by idly while their leaders dismantle that ideal and take away another personal freedom. People should be mad as hell… what next?

    Trashtalk … so so right with your comments

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