posted on January 14, 2013 23:21
The proposed Batavia City budget, unveiled Monday night, calls for sweeping changes in the way garbage is picked-up and paid for.
Under what is being dubbed a “pay as you throw - PAYT” system, everyone that uses city trash collection pays according to how much they toss out. The "user fee" will also extend to non-profit agencies and churches, who have not directly paid for the service in the past.
City Manager Jason Molino says all property owners will be issued plastic trash containers or "totes," the size of which is determined by the user:
"You pay for what you throw away. So, if you want a smaller tote or larger tote, you are going to pay respectively. If you throw away more, you are going to pay more. You throw away less, you are going to pay less. Another aspect of the program is unlimited recycling, and that also has the ability to help control your costs of what you throw away."
PHOTO: City Manager Jason Molino explains budget Monday night. WBTA News Pic
Molino added that another cost saving part of the program: it is entirely automated, just one person is required to drive a garbage truck and empty the totes.
The apparent lower bidder for the program is Allied/Republic, a national waste management company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. They operate in 39 states and have 30,000 employees according to the company website.
Allied/Republic submitted the lowest of four bids received at $4.34-million dollars over the next five years.
The Genesee ARC, which had been providing the service to the city for nearly 30 years, bid $4.99-million dollars. The ARC was the apparent high bidder.
ARC Executive Director Donna Saskowski said the loss of the city contract hurts the human services agency:
"I will have to lay off between 8 and 10 people.The agency will loose $800,000 in revenue, and we will have to find different jobs for the people with disabilities."
Saskowski said half of the persons expected to be laid off have some form of developmental disability.
The 2013-2014 proposed budget technically calls for a reduction in the city tax rate from $10.71 to $9.15. However, when the average cost of the garbage fee is factored in, Molino said the impact on the average homeowner will be a “wash.”
The proposed budget also factors in the retirement of three police department lieutenants.
The three have elected to retire by the end of March, rather than face demotion to the position of sergeant, Molino said.
The police department will be restructured replacing the lieutenant’s positions with two police officers, one sergeant and a non-union deputy chief. Molino estimated the restructuring will save $10,000 per year.
The nine members of the city council will also receive a pay raise under the proposed budget. The council voted 6 to 3 last February to raise their salary from $2,000 per year to $3,500 per year effective in the 2013-2014 fiscal year that begins April 1.
The only way the pay raises could be prevented, Molino said, was for the council to vote down the entire budget proposal or opt to pull the pay raise allocation from the budget plan and vote on it separately.
Councilmen Patti Pacino and Pier Cipollone said on Monday night they would not support a pay raise. Both had supported the pay raise measure in the February vote.