Waste Management questions legality of New Paltz single-hauler contract

(Photo by Lauren Thomas)

Last month, New Paltz became one-garbage-company town, meaning all customers receiving curbside service had to use County Waste, the company that offered the lowest bid. But the transition has not gone smoothly. Waste Management trucks are still doing their pickups and the company’s customers have not received refunds for payments made for future service. The reason? A company attorney has questioned whether the process by which competition was curtailed in New Paltz was legal, and collections are continuing while the issues are being addressed.

Attorney Patrick Maglieri, representing Waste Management, has called into question a number of facets of the laws passed in New Paltz and the procurement process to select one company to service the residents who wanted a collection service. Many of his arguments hinged upon the word “franchise.” A public hearing was required before issuing a franchise, he maintained. He cited opinions from more than one state official that offering exclusive franchises was not something that could be done at the municipal level.

Town and village attorneys have backed away from the F-word. In a letter to Maglieri dated June 22, Joseph Moriello conceded that “the use of the term ‘franchise’ in the agreement, website and other applications may have contributed to some degree of confusion.” The agreement with County Waste was not “ever intended to be a ‘franchise’” pursuant to the definitions laid out in law, but was instead the right to contract with individuals within the community.


Maglieri disagreed. Reached for comment, he contended that “it’s very clear on its face” that the legislation was intended to be a franchise. He also questions the validity of the licensing of County Waste. His review of the town and village laws passed for that purpose, he said, showed that it would be impossible to issue such a license. No application has ever been published pursuant to those laws, no license fee set, and no insurance requirements established. He acknowledged that some of these issues have since been resolved.

Mayor Tim Rogers pointed out that Waste Management’s bid was the highest one received, and if accepted would have resulted in higher prices for some customers. “Imagine if losers of all our various publicly bid projects just used their muscle to intimidate when they weren’t awarded contracts because they bid too high,” Rogers said.

The Waste Management bid documents are viewable on the town website. They include three full pages of “communities serviced,” which include some where the company is contracted for “disposal only.” In others, collection from residents was the business at hand. Maglieri said he had no personal knowledge of those arrangements, and declined to answer questions about the bid itself.

Violating the law carries a $250 fine, but the verbiage does not make it clear how the fine would be applied. Town supervisor Neil Bettez said that he’s hoping it would be assessed per instance, but expects it’s more likely to be a daily fine. He did not answer questions about how that aspect of the law would be enforced.

At least one other company, SWDS of Rosendale, continues to collect waste in New Paltz in violation of the law. Calls to that company’s owner for comment on the law have never been returned.

There are 4 comments

  1. c. yoga

    Maybe the exact way New Paltz did this was not correct but let’s not get confused here. A town CAN contract with a single hauler. Many have done this, and for the same reason New Paltz did: it’s cheaper. And it’s obvious why: if you have 200 customers spread out over a 50 sq mile area it’s less efficient than if you have 2000 customers in the same area. If you do a single-hauler plan, you have one company doing all the pickups in a systematic way rather than trucks from a dozen companies visiting all corners of a town.

  2. MaryAnn Tozzi

    dozens of garbage trucks are STILL coming through town as we cannot “close our borders” to traffic we dont want AND commercial accounts are exempt! so ALL the businesses and apartment buildings will see the same traffic. Additionally,i am totally capable, as a consumer, of negotiating my own “deals” with businesses i choose enter into contracts with to give my money to. Is this a good place to mention my town and village opted to not do business with FEDEX because they dont like their business practices but totally removed my right to the same “protest” if i am not happy with their business practices. “Bring it to the dump yourself” is a ridiculous ONLY OTHER option, no one told the town if they dont like fed ex they can deliver their own packages.

    take my Garbage fees out of my taxes and THEY can enter into a contract woth whoever THEY want – this is a personal contract with my own money they they are forcing me into … they said they have no interest in my snow plow decision or my oil delivery decision but they had no interest in my garbage contract either–until they did.

  3. Imadeitup

    What she said^^^^^
    I am not going to “fire” someone who has done a great job. If they want to “quit”, then so be it. Since I earn the money that pays the bills, it’s my right to decide who I want to pay to do the job.

  4. Phil Rutulante

    This is the continued path of Socialism. Big Government is not the answer. We as Americans are protected by the Constitution to walk this land as we see fit. Less of course we do something that endangers ourself or others. As Thomas Jefferson summed up, a proper government “shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” All I see in the garage franchise between County Waste and the Town of New Paltz is BAD GOVERNMENT.
    Please do not insult me with fabricated facts about road usage and wear and saving me money. Ive seen my taxes rise and the waste of my towns tax money over ad over again. This is hard facts!. And yet the Town Government has our best interest? I question the individual interest as and who’s interest it really is. This so called law reads corruption.
    What will be next? Will the Town force me to use a single franchised package carrier such as UPS or FEDEX. The Town board has overstep and should begin the process of back stepping.

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