Princeton Borough and Princeton Township elected officials anticipated discussing and voting on bids for trash and food waste pick up for the consolidated Princeton at a public meeting this coming Monday night.
But lawyers have advised officials that the trash contracts will need to be rebid. The original bids were sent out in October and two companies, Waste Management and Central Jersey Waste, returned bids this month. It is not clear why the contracts must be rebid, but it will mean that Princeton most likely will not receive bids back until early in January of 2013, after consolidation takes place. Princeton Borough currently provides trash service to its residents, but Township residents must pay for private trash service.
At the transition task force meeting Wednesday night, members of a committee that studied infrastructure for the new Princeton made recommendations about trash pick up options. Bids were requested for manual and automated trash pick up. Bids were also sought for monthly pick up and weekly pick up. Companies were also asked for information on the cost difference between zoned pick up for various parts of town on different days versus pick up for the entire town on the same day.
The committee recommended manual trash pick up because is is less expensive and provides more flexibility for residents. Zoned trash pick up for different parts of town on different days of the week was cheaper. The committee also recommended a two year contract, with an option to extend the contract up to five years.
“We recommended that trash pick up happen one a week instead of once a month, because there was no cost differential,” Borough Councilwoman Jo Butler said. “That is also the level of service Borough residents are used to.”
If the pilot food collection program is continued, it would cost the consolidated Princeton $88,200 per every 1,000 homes (if less than 1,000 homes participate it would still costs the same amount). Butler said costs could come down if food waste processing facilities are build in New Jersey. Right now Central Jersey Waste takes the food waste that is picked up in Princeton all the way to Delaware, where it is turned into mulch. About 460 households in the Borough and Township currently participate in the program. The cost would be within the 2013 budget, Butler said..
“Clearly there needs to be more work on how the program is implemented,” Butler said. “Do we offer it to the first 1,000 homes, first come, first served? Is there a point were we can have 7,100 families involved? We can’t spend $630,000 on the program. Some people might not feel we should spend $88,000 on the program. We need to iron out the implementation, and that will be a judgment for the joint municipalities.”