Borough transitions collections

NAUGATUCK — The Oakville-based company hired to collect trash and recycling in the borough is settling in after a month on the job.

In May the Board of Mayor and Burgesses awarded a five-year contract to Copes Rubbish Removal to collect residential trash and recycling.

The contract starts at $777,518 this fiscal year and rises to $889,931 over the life of the deal. Copes also purchased three garbage trucks from the borough for $566,000 as part of the agreement.

Leading up to July 1, when Copes began, the company did a lot of work to prepare, Naugatuck Recycling and Solid Waste Coordinator Sheila Baummer said. She said the engineering department printed out detailed maps of the borough for the drivers to study before they started driving the routes.

“They’ve done as best they could to prepare,” Baummer said.

Despite the preparations, a few problems surfaced during the first couple weeks.

“In the first two weeks, between their drivers getting used to routes and getting used to the trucks, there were some missed stops. It was similar to what happened when we [the Public Works Department] first used the automated trucks. There is a certain learning curve,” Baummer said.

Baummer said she had expected the first couple weeks to be confusing. The drivers went back to any homes they had missed if residents called, she said.

In recent weeks the calls have decreased, Baummer said.

While who is collecting garbage has changed, not much as else has for residents. Collection days have remained the same.

“Residents shouldn’t notice a change. It should be status quo for residents having their materials collected,” Baummer said.

Residents that have questions regarding their trash or recycling pick up or problems with collections can contact Copes directly at (877) 274-1444. Questions regarding what can go into the recycling bins or what days residents are scheduled for collection can be directed to Public Works at (203) 720-7071, Baummer said.

The move towards privatizing trash and recycling collection was recommended in the borough’s long-term strategic plan, which was completed last year by the consulting firm Blum, Shapiro & Co.

The board also awarded a five-year contract for municipal dumpster collection services to Enfield-based USA Hauling and Recycling, which starts at $71,714 this and increases to $74,378 over the life of the deal.

The move to privatize collections is expected to save the borough about $485,000 over the life of the contracts and opened the door for early retirements in the Public Works Department.

Eight people accepted the early retirement offer. According to Public Works Director James Stewart four have already retired and the other four will do so in September.

None of the staff who worked on the garbage trucks have or will be retiring. According to Stewart, they have been moved to other sectors of the department, including the Parks and Recreation Department, the Street Department and the Hop Brook Golf Course.

“There is not a lack of work for them,” Stewart said.

A message left with Copes seeking comment was not returned as of this post.

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