Hollidaysburg needs study on its trash

I attended the Hollidaysburg Borough Council meeting on July 14 to hear the discussion about the possibility of the borough making the change to a single hauler recycling program.

Several things have to happen to get a single hauler system in Hollidaysburg.

First, Hollidaysburg Council would have to get a majority vote for the change. Then the IRC recycling office and the borough would set the standards for collection – pick-up days and times, the handling of bulky wastes, procedures for addressing problems, etc.

Then the borough would accept bids from all interested haulers, consider the haulers’ bids and select the company that suits the goals of the new program best.

Under the current system, each household picks its own hauler. Though many haulers work hard to provide good service, the inefficiency of the system means that the average cost of collection per customer is more than $24 a month.

Under a single collector the cost would be considerably less since one truck would pick-up your entire neighborhood.

Tyrone presently uses single hauler collection, and the cost per resident has recently been reduced through competitive bidding to $14.29 a month. The townships surrounding State College pay only $15.72 for standard service and $12.60 for seniors and others that make less trash and recycle more.

Some benefits of single hauler would likely include:

– A significantly lower monthly fee of about $15;

– Freedom for the borough to determine pick-up times that would help exclude heavy banging in the middle of the night;

– Removal of electronics and other large and bulky items as part of your standard service package;

– A rate reduction for older citizens and others who generate less waste;

– A single collector could pick up Hollidaysburg’s waste and recycling on a single day during the week instead of many different hauling companies crisscrossing each other on various days of the week and at various times of the morning. This would reduce heavy truck traffic and reduce fossil fuel air pollution, etc.

As a result of the loss of county funding and staff, the IRC is currently operating with a skeleton office staff of two, for all the rigorous work and enforcement necessary to operate successfully.

The IRC also provides composting for the borough’s yard waste and has large equipment replacement needs over the next few years as well.

The savings realized from a more efficient collection system would allow the borough to add a small fee to the collection bill to raise additional funds, while still offering a much lower price than current individual subscription system.

At the borough meeting, the solicitor for the borough stated that a referendum vote by the people to choose between the two systems is not likely. This puts the decision completely on council’s representative form of government to make the choice.

They cannot do this objectively without a study looking at both types of recycling pick up.

Council needs to authorize such a study and then make a decision based solely on the facts of that study to determine which system is more practical, economical, organized, time and cost efficient and environmentally sound for the majority of the citizens of Hollidaysburg.

Louis A. Mollica

Hollidaysburg