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Alburtis Borough Council evaluates solid waste bids and other finances

Alburtis Borough Council dedicated most of the time during the Sept. 30 borough meeting to discussing the bids received from Solid Waste Services doing business as J.P. Mascaro.

Council debated whether they prefer a 3-4-year or 5-6-year contract and what prices they preferred.

Sam Augustine, director of sales at J.P. Mascaro attended the meeting to explain why the borough saw price increases in the bids this year.

“The prices have gone up considerably,” Augustine said. “As you know also, last year you went out to bid in an option year, our bid was considerably higher last year - about 45 percent last year. This year ... We put in what we feel is the best possible bid we could put in. There have been tremendous increases in our industry. Going forward we have what I consider to be an excellent 5-year bid.” Augustine said the bid is based on 67-yard waste loads that come out of the borough and there are a lot of costs involved. “We feel that we have an excellent bid in front of you.”

Councilmember John Aleszczyk pointed out occasionally the garbage trucks arrive off-schedule or not at all.

“One thing that comes up from the residents is the consistency of service,” Aleszczyk said. “Sometimes it’s late, sometimes [the employees] miss things. I understand that things happen, but it happens often. Can you address what you’re going to do about that?”

Augustine explained he feels the “overall misses” in the borough are relatively low.

Councilmember Hector Vasquez then started a motion to award a contract to Solid Waste Services and accept bid option 34-1-0, a 3-4-year bid covering municipal solid waste weekly and recycling every other week. Council carried the motion.

On the topic of financing, Borough Manager Sharon Trexler then informed council the borough received a COVID-19 County Block Grant to combat the unexpected expenses from the pandemic. Trexler provided a budget listing the expenses incurred from March through September and a projected budget for September through December expenses. Council carried a motion to permit necessary purchases alongside a budget thanks to the relief grant.

Next, council discussed the proposed purchase of a magnetic lid lifter out of safety concerns for the maintenance workers.

Second Vice President Kathleen Raines asked if council could table the purchase until next year. Council determined they could purchase the magnetic lid lifter due to safety concerns and table the purchase of a pressure washer until the next budget is created.

“The [magnetic lid lifter] is a safety [item],” Councilmember Stephen Kaufman said. “The pressure washer isn’t.”

Council also decided to table any paving plans until next year due to weather-permitting concerns.

Council then discussed the Act 205 Municipal Pension Reporting Program. Borough Solicitor Dave Knerr explained currently Alburtis ranks at a distress score of zero, “which is a wonderful thing.”

“We were at a one before this,” Knerr said. “[The borough is] at a zero which means there’s no problems at all … [Alburtis] is better than most municipalities in the state.”

Council carried a motion to follow Knerr’s recommendations based on this information.

For the remainder of the meeting, council primarily discussed finances and future plans.

Trexler then shared a leadership conference she planned on attending in Gettysburg Oct. 19 has moved online, so she plans to attend as much as possible.

Trexler also initiated a discussion about potentially extending the fencing in the baseball field after a stray ball hit a resident’s windshield. The resident inquired if the borough would cover the cost. Since the borough does not cover personal costs such as that, council evaluated potential solutions to prevent this in the future. However, since baseball season is almost over, council decided to table the discussion until next year.

Council then carried a motion to adjourn and proceed into an executive meeting.