ADVERTISEMENT

BATAVIA – An overflow crowd is expected Monday when the City Council seeks public opinion on who should collect the city’s refuse. The choice is between the city’s recommendation, with significant savings, or a renewed contract with a local firm whose handicapped workers currently make weekly pickups.

The hearing is on amending the city’s code and regulations on the collection of trash and recyclables. Local sentiment, as expressed at a recent Council meeting, strongly supports Genesee ARC’s bid to continue a service it has held for nearly 30 years.

However, a lower bid from Allied Waste – saving the city $1.2 million – is being recommended.

In a city handbook titled “Curbside Recycling and Refuse,” the pay-as-you-throw method is described as “the most efficient and cost-effective since it is based on volume.”

The hearing centers on amending the city code to “include refuse and recycling cart collection as well as a refuse user fee.”

The Council may vote on the change, which fits the Allied Waste offer, when it adopts the 2013-2014 budget at its Feb. 25 meeting.

Donna Saskowski, Genesee ARC’s director, said she has no idea how Council members will vote. She added, however, “We are exploring other options for a workforce where 20 have physical handicaps that make finding a job difficult.”

The 2013-2014 budget eliminated trash and recycling collection, reducing the property tax rate by 14 percent. That would nullify for most taxpayers the cost of a new collection system.

City Manager Jason R. Molino estimates that taxpayers’ savings with a new collector could be as much as $30. ARC’s contract would raise the property tax rate by $40, Molino advised.

The Council will probably approve the new budget at the Feb. 25 meeting. It includes raises for Council members – $1,500 to a new rate of $3,000 annually for eight members, and $1,100 to a new rate of $4,000 for the Council president.