By Joe Wiercinski
Herald Staff Writer
Sharon residents will have a different trash hauler next month providing garbage and recycling services, including televisions and computers for the first time.
As a result, customers could be paying less for improved services or they could be paying the same rates they’re paying now, with the city collecting a fee to cover some of its administrative costs tied to trash collection and disposal, City Manager Scott Andrejchak said.
Whether the city collects a fee or not, the new contract provides residents with a way to dispose of worn-out televisions, computers and certain household wastes that previously wasn’t available.
Under a process coordinated by Mercer County Regional Council of Governments, Waste Management Inc. of Moon Township, Allegheny County, was the low bidder for a three-year contract for service in Sharon, Farrell and Wheatland.
Each community will have its own contract with the company. Sharon’s contract with Tri-County Industries, Pine Township, expires at the end of the month.
Andrejchak said Tri-County workers will be picking up the company’s toters.
Customers will get new toters from Waste Management by the end of the month. Inside, they will find billing and contact information, as well as details about the use of approved bags by smaller households that don’t generate much trash and information about the new e-waste and household hazardous waste collection service, Andrejchak said.
Waste Management also will mail a flier to residential customers’ homes explaining its services and how they will be delivered.
Customers will retain the recycling containers they received from the city, and collection days are expected to stay mostly the same as they are now.
Billed quarterly, customers have been paying $54.90 for garbage collection and recycling service. Waste Management will be providing those services plus e-waste pickup for $48.69 quarterly, Andrejchak said.
Customers will dispose of garbage in toters as they always have and put glass and plastics in their recycling container for pickup once a week.
TVs, computers and certain household wastes will be collected separately on an on-call basis.
Residents will call a toll-free hot line or go online to schedule a collection date for those materials and get details about how they should be prepared for pickup.
“You’re talking about car batteries, pesticides, used oil and filters and paint products, things that have been some of the most troublesome items,” Andrejchak said.
When they receive their mailed fliers, customers will find a list of acceptable items, as well as those that are not acceptable, including tires, appliances, medications, ammunition, explosives and other materials.
Andrejchak said he and council are discussing with the city solicitor whether the city could keep rates as they are and collect the difference – $2.07 a month for a residential customer – as a fee. That would amount to about $144,000 in new revenue for the city.
“Ultimately, that decision rests with council,” he said. “Since it’s a fee and not a tax it has to be related to our actual expenses for waste management services.”
As an example, he cited the problem the city has had with old TVs that people previously dumped and that wound up at the city garage. They had to be placed in a special container that was shrink-wrapped for shipment to an authorized waste collector.
“I don’t know if we’re going to be able to charge a fee to cover the city’s waste-disposal costs but the new contract is clearly an improvement in services over the old one,” Andrejchak said. “People will have the ability to dispose of products that have been a problem and to dispose of them legally by picking up a phone. That’s a good thing.”