BATAVIA – The City Council played to a packed house Monday for a public hearing about a revision of the municipal code on disposing of solid waste.
The focus of a parade of speakers was not on the local law but on a likely new vendor whose bid fits the amended code.
The switch would dump Genesee ARC and its team of handicapped workers who have toured the city weekly for 30 years to collect garbage and recyclables.
Opponents of the proposed local law centered on the loss of a local vendor and workers with limited skills, a higher cost with a new separate fee system for many homeowners, difficulties the elderly might experience in hauling large totes to the curb, and recycling every two weeks instead of weekly.
City Manager Jason R. Molino, who has defended the change, believes it is more efficient and more effective, will save money for business owners and will encourage recycling. The five-year contract would save the city $1.2 million and spread the collection cost more fairly since its fees are tied to usage.
Allied Waste Services was the lowest of four bidders, while ARC was the highest.
A vote on the vendor will come at the Feb. 25 meeting as part of the new city budget.
At that time, the 2013-14 budget of $15.3 million likely will be approved since it calls for a 16.5 percent reduction in the real property tax.
That is made possible largely through the elimination of garbage pickup, once a part of the tax bill. The amended code would charge fees depending on the size of containers for refuse and recyclables.
The Council also held hearings into new water rates, which are up 3 percent; meter fees; and a capital fund for improvements.