Anyone living in New Paltz who contracts for residential garbage pickup gets that service through County Waste, thanks to a five-year deal granting the company exclusive access to town residents in exchange for a lower rate than nearly anyone in town was paying beforehand. While the rate charged for collection cannot be changed for the duration of licenses to operate within town and village limits, costs can be passed on, and customers are now seeing a new “recycling sustainability” charge on their invoices in the amount of $3.31. The total cost is now nearly $31, but as this additional recycling cost is hitting all solid-waste carriers, the County Waste arrangement may still be the cheapest around. Whether it is or not, it’s the only option available under local law if one desires pickup.
That’s a bone of contention for some town residents who see the arrangement as a power grab of some kind that undermines the principles of the free market. Elected officials have argued that this allows them to police collectors more effectively and reduces impacts on local roads as well as improve the environment and quality of life. A very few number of residents were faced with a higher price by switching to County Waste, and Waste Management customers — who were paying several dollars more per month — didn’t have their existing contracts cancelled pursuant to local law until a deal was worked out to avoid suing to overturn it. Under the deal, commercial hauling won’t be subject to similar regulation in the near future. The town transfer station remains an option for those who find the 95-gallon containers a bit more than they need, but with its location off Clearwater Road, it’s only convenient for those with access to a personal motor vehicle.