Borough extends contract for trash, recycling collection

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NAUGATUCK — The Board of Mayor and Burgesses has approved a five-year extension of its contract with USA Hauling and Recycling for curbside trash and recycling collection.

Under the contract, the borough’s annual cost for trash and recycling collection will increase based on increases of the Consumer Price Index, an index put out each year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that measures changes in the price level for consumer goods and services.

This fiscal year, which is the final year of the contract in place with USA Hauling and Recycling, the borough is paying $612,369 for trash collection and $277,562 for recyclable collection.

According to Public Works Director James Stewart, the Consumer Price Index increased by 1.67 percent for the next fiscal year. This means trash collection costs will go up $10,226 and the cost for recycling will increase $4,635 in the 2019-20 fiscal year, the first year of the extension.

The contract was originally with Copes Rubbish Removal, but the company was later bought by USA Hauling and Recycling.

The contract extension comes four years after the borough decided to privatize trash and recycling collection instead of having borough employees do it.

In 2014, borough officials estimated that privatizing collections would save about $485,000 over the first five years.

When the first contract was signed, officials said they expected to spend approximately $928,000 on trash and recycling collection during the 2014-15 fiscal year if it was done by borough employees.

USA Hauling and Recycling charged the borough $777,518 in 2014-15, according to its contract.

Last week, Stewart said he did not have exact figures for how much the borough has saved but said the actual savings were pretty close to the projections.

The main area were the borough realized savings was in salaries.

When the borough privatized collections, the borough offered early retirement incentives for public works employees and the department eliminated four positions for people who used to operate the garbage trucks, Stewart said.

This was on top of four positions that were eliminated after the borough switched to automated trucks for the collections, instead of doing manual collection, before privatizing the operation, Stewart said.

Since 2014, Stewart said the department has refilled three of those positions and is hoping to fill another one in the upcoming fiscal year.

Stewart said the borough also saw savings in areas, including the cost of fuel, repairs on the trucks, and workers’ compensation.

In the end, the borough came out with a savings, Stewart said.

“It was definitely worth it,” he said.