Hollidaysburg Borough Council to discuss trash bids

Discussion about a possible change to trash collection in Hollidaysburg, which has dominated meetings for more than a year, is slated to continue Thursday.

But this time, officials will have financial information to back their claims.

“There will be a discussion about the prices and the options,” said John Frederick, the Intermunicipal Relations Committee’s executive director.

In February, a majority of council members voted to request single-hauler bids from local haulers. However, the three bids received may not be as low as expected.

According to figures shared by Frederick, the lowest bid for a single-hauler contract came from Hollenbaugh’s Trash & Recycling LLC of Huntingdon at $13.25 per month for a six-year period beginning in 2018, figures show.

Waste Management of Pennsylvania and Burgmeier’s Hauling Inc. also submitted bids.

Waste Management’s bid began at $13.36 per month for standard pickup in 2018 with a projected increase to $15.04 by 2023. And Burgmeier’s began at $16.62 in 2018 with a projected increase to $18.32 by 2023.

Those bids are only for trash collection. Under the proposal, Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority would collect recyclables at an additional cost of $4.95, Frederick said.

That means residents would pay about $18.20 per month for both services if Borough Council members accepted Hollenbaugh’s low bid.

Currently, under the multi-hauler system, residents pay an average of $23.75 for both trash and recyclable collection, Frederick said.

Borough Council members have been mulling whether to maintain its current system in which residents choose their own hauler or to contract with a single hauler for all residences since at least March 2016. Tyrone Borough is the only Blair County community that employs a single-hauler system. Interim Borough Manager Kim Gurekovich said Tyrone residents pay Burgmeier’s $14.29 per month for both trash and recyclable collection.

“We’ve had them for years down here,” Gurekovich said of the borough’s contract with Burgmeier’s.

Matt Burgmeier, the company’s vice president, said the company’s contract with Tyrone was for multiple years and was drafted prior to this year.

The difference in cost between the Hollidaysburg bid and Tyrone contract is due to stricter reporting and administrative guidelines in Hollidaysburg’s request for proposals, he said.

“I don’t think it’s going to save the residents a lot of money. And I think it’s going to put some local haulers out of business,” Burgmeier said of a switch to single-hauler collection in Hollidaysburg.

Since the prospective change was first introduced, plans have received both strong criticism and support from community members.

Many residents have urged council to maintain the current system and their right to choose who they do business with. And single-hauler supporters have said the model would help to improve compliance with trash and recycling rules and reduce trash accumulation and property blight.

The Intermunicipal Relations Committee, which is experiencing financial trouble, oversees recycling in several Blair County communities, including Hollidaysburg, where recycling is mandated by state law.

Historically, single-hauler services have led to a cost savings for customers. Because of that assumed savings, Hollidaysburg officials have often said they could also include a fee on bills, which would go to the IRC to ease its financial burden.

If approved, that fee would be added to trash bills.

A council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, and the trash hauler issue appears on the agenda.