BATAVIA – Based on petitions from hundreds of residents who want a local nonprofit agency to remain as the city’s garbage collector, the City Council has abandoned a long-standing municipal service: trash and recycling collection paid for by property taxes.
Genesee ARC and its staff of developmentally disabled workers have provided the weekly pickups under contract with the city for nearly three decades. They failed to get a renewal when, for the first time, the city sought bids for the service. The lowest bid – with a savings of $250,000 a year – was submitted by Allied Waste Services of Lancaster.
The city rewrote its solid waste ordinance. which fit the offer from Allied.
That was shot down, and the City Council granted ARC a two-month extension on its contract, now ending May 31. ARC has sought another five-year pact.
With the city likely out of paying for the collection of people’s trash, property owners will have the option of choosing their own vendor. They will pay for it – likely much more than the savings from a promised reduction in the property tax levy – since the city’s new budget eliminates the service.
ARC has the support of about one of every 10 residents, with more than 1,000 of them signing petitions, and scores more waving signs and speaking at Council meetings.
The Council will take up the issue again at its next meeting Monday when public hearings will be held on another revision of the trash ordinance and a new budget proposal that no longer includes the cost of garbage collection.
Meanwhile, ARC Executive Director Donna Saskowski said the company is ready to take on individual customers. The city also will provide a list of vendors in Erie and Monroe counties.
As of June 1, property owners will have to hire their own refuse collectors.
Residents unhappy with the decision have said they will try to defeat the three councilmen-at-large who are up for re-election this year.
All three of them voted to discontinue the service and end ARC’s run.