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UPDATE: $3.5 Million Plan For DPW Revamp Pitched

Presentation drew critics, admirers in sometimes testy meeting

The Township Committee voted unanimously to solicit bids for seven automated garbage trucks at its regular meeting Wednesday.

The move came at the end of a lengthy and occasionally testy presentation on a plan for – a nearly $3.5 million plan that would include the use of automated trucks to pick up trash.

The bid solicitation was recommend by Jeff Bertrand, township administrator, so the committee could get an exact price on the trucks before considering further the plan to restructure Public Works. It does not require the committee to buy the trucks, Bertrand said.

The vote was 4-0 in favor. Committeeman George Newberry was absent. The bids would be returned in about 60 days, Bertrand said.

“I think its time for a change,’’ Mayor Jeff Foster said following the presentation and vote.

Bertrand presented to the 50-some attendees at Wednesday’s meeting changes to the way the Pubic Works department conducts its day-to-day. With few changes, it was the same presentation Bertrand showed to the committee last week.

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The Full Presentation Given At The Sept. 13 Township Committee Meeting Has Been Attached To This Story.
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Under the plan:

  • Garbage collection would move to once weekly and would be done by automated trucks;
  • Garbage cans, purchased by the town and distributed to residents, would hold a capacity of 96 gallons, more than twice the current 45-gallon capacity allowed;
  • The recycling schedule would remain at twice a month and 96-gallon cans would be purchased by the town and distributed to residents;
  • Brush would be collected only May, June, August and October;
  • Brush would have to be cut to particular lengths – size to be determined – and bound before pick-up;
  • Bush pick up would no longer be done by use of front loaders. It would be done by hand
  • Public works would add janitorial services and ground maintenance of the municipal complex, but would outsource grass cutting in the summer.

The plan would save employees thousands of work hours a year – hours that could be used to attend to tree trimming and other needed tasks in the town, Bertrand said.

“We need to start doing that preventative maintenance or you’re going to see another cost coming down the road,’’ Bertrand said.

Cost Estimates
In total, the restructuring would cost about $3.3 million, Bertrand said.

The town would need to buy seven automated garbage trucks — five for garbage, two for recycling and one as a backup for the others in case of maintenance or repair. Each truck costs about $275,000, for a total of about $1.925 million, he said.

The town would also need to purchase about 9,400 garbage cans and the same number of recycling cans at a cost of about $55 each, for a total of about $1.03 million, he said.

The town would also buy several thousand additional garbage and recycling cans, offered for purchase by residents for half the town’s cost, if a homeowner is in need of a second or third can. That would cost about $96,000, if they all sold out to residents, Bertrand said.

There also would be a cost of nearly $200,000 to outsource the summer grass cutting the plan proposes.

No Public Works positions would be eliminated under the proposal. Two positions – employees who plan to retire – would not be replaced, Bertrand said. If other positions become vacant, the administration would discuss on a case-by-case basis what was to become of those vacancies, he said.

The current garbage collection system uses four trucks and eight employees, Bertrand said.

Taxpayer Burden
Bertrand said that if the committee decided to scrap this new plan, the town would still need to purchase four rear loading garbage trucks in the near future, since the average age of the trucks in use is 10 years.

That cost would be about $900,000, he said, leaving about $2.5 million more left to pay for the restructuring plan. When factoring in staff reduction of two retirees – one this year and one next – the reduction in major vehicle maintenance and a reduction in tipping fees owing to reduced water weight in the automated cans, Bertrand put the total annual cost of the new plan at $12,364.

That, Bertrand said, would be approximately $1 annually for the average home assessment of $304,000, or about 8.4 cents a month.

Brush Pickup
Some residents complained about the changes to brush pickup. Under the proposal, brush would be picked up only if it was cut to a specific length and bundled. Some residents said this was an undue burden.

Committeeman Todd Luttman appeared to agree, saying that residents often don’t comply with the current bush pickup regulations, which ask residents to keep brush to 4-feet in length and facing a certain way.

“It’s going to be a very large burden on all the residents,’’ Chris Seiler, of Rue de la Port said. “Please give consideration to using the claw and getting away from the bundling.’’

Bertrand said he and the Public Works department were discussing if it would be possible to do that.

Gary Faraci September 13, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Wall's government continues its trandition of lack of tranparency, lack of public participation in the process, lack of full cost analysis, lack of full financial information. Bertrand's presentation and comments showed he is trying to do a sell job to the residents, claiming savings when there are none. He even had the nerve to say this was 3 years in the making - yet not one resident heard anything until a week ago! He mentioned studies, and other municipalities, but not one shred of evidence to back it up. As I have often said "In God We Trust. All others bring data." Bertrand and the Committee can't produce any data to back up their claims. You can't trust them. Bottom line is this was a sell job to spend millions of taxpayers $$ with zero cost savings. This is what the one-party government in Wall gives us. We need someone on the Committee to watch over these con artists.
Bob from Wall September 13, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Unfortunately may people left the meeting last night before it was over. Some like to get up to the microphone make bs comments and then scurry away like cowards. If people attended meeting throughout the year and not just during September and October so they can try to promote a candidate that is running for the township committee, they would know that Mayor Foster 3 years ago brought the idea up of one arm garbage trucks. At the time he said he would reduce labor costs and reduce the number of men injured on the job. All that without slides and questions 3 years ago!!! So last night the town did it's homework and presented an excellent presentation explaining how many days would be saved so these workers can now fix out streets, signs and storm drains. But the town still unsung running out and buying the equipment, they are going to get exact numbers. I say great job by Mayor Foster, our new administrator Jeff Bertrand and the rest of the committee for thinking outside the box, saving us money and getting more done with less manpower. Because the last time I checked, all of the committee members have full time jobs and pay the same taxes the rest of us pay!
bobbotb September 13, 2012 at 07:26 PM
might make sense but no Businaess Case appears to have been made. Why do we pay a Business Administrator if he cant make the business case that inlues the ROI.
Phineas J Whoopee September 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM
For many people, we aren't able to make every meeting like the Wall Twnshp employee's. We have jobs and outside lives to attend to. If we didn't work these jobs we would'nt be able to afford these ridiculously expensive taxes that Wall Townshp bestows upon us. Many of us would love to be employed by Wall, I personally know how much you people work and what you don't work and tell everyone that you do! Speak for yourself Mr Bob.
Gary Faraci September 14, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Bob - you are the coward and incorrect. You are a coward not to mention it was me who left after the presentation and my comments. And you are a coward not to give your full name. Fact is Mr Bertrand never showed the $250,000 he claimed saved during his presentation. Fact is there will be no workforce reduction, only shifting of current workforce to other things. Fact is there will be additional cost of outsourcing grass cutting. Fact is in addition to acquisition cost, there are all the additonal costs Mr Bertrand couldn't answer me on - finance costs, fuel costs, depreciation costs, maintenance costs, repair costs, insurance costs, downtime costs, opportunity costs. Fact is the new equipment won't take snow plows we have, so we either pay for plows, outsource snowplowing, or keep all the current trucks. Fact is there was no public kknowledge or particpation in this 3 year long study, and we only learned of it the last two weeks. Fact is this will add much more than $3.5 million that taxpayers have to pay with no current cost reduction. Fact is there is NO cost savings Bob from Wall. Only additional cost to taxpayers.

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