BATAVIA – The city’s budget preparations, which usually start in mid-January, will include a new dilemma that could pit spending realities against jobs for disabled workers.
Genesee ARC’s contract for citywide trash and recycling pickup ends March 31, and the city proposes to seek bids for the first time in 10 to 15 years on a new multiyear contract.
The loser could be ARC, a nonprofit local entity, which has provided the service for nearly 30 years. It employs 30 mostly developmentally disabled adults who could end up unemployed if another bidder is successful.
ARC’s current contract, enacted in 2008, calls for $811,372 in spending for 2011-2012. That includes five-days-a-week pickup from nearly 5,000 homes and businesses. The cost is included in city taxes, and nonprofits are not charged.
When the current pact was approved, some City Council members wanted bids, and ARC cut its cost by $100,000.
ARC claims it provides employment for workers with limited job opportunities who might not be acceptable to a new provider. The workers are local residents who, ARC says, spend about $175,000 a year on goods and services from local purveyors. ARC formerly was known as the Association for Retarded Children before changing its mission.
Donna Saskowski, executive director, declined to say whether ARC would submit a bid.
“We’re keeping our options open,” she said. Three of four workers, she confirmed, are disabled. If ARC loses the contract, workers could be offered other jobs in the agency or could decline, the director added.
Bids are due Jan. 9. The new contract would take effect April 1, the start of the city’s fiscal year.