Written by Alan KraWitz Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00
Trash talk dominated the discussion in East Williston last week as the village held a public hearing to determine whether to dump their current and somewhat embattled garbage hauler, Dejana, in favor of the next lowest bidding company, Meadow Carting.
Port Washington-based Dejana Industries, Inc., has been the village’s garbage hauling company since 2009, under a competitively bid contract which provides options to renew at the village’s discretion. The company’s current contract expires on May 31st.
Mayor David Tanner had said in January that the board had decided to take the option with Dejana to rebid the garbage carting contract.
At last week’s meeting, representatives from both Dejana and Westbury-based Meadow Carting spoke before the board.
“The purpose of the hearing is to gather all the relevant information from both companies and make an informed decision,” Mayor Tanner said.
No matter which company the village ultimately decides on, Mayor Tanner said, there will be a “nice” cost savings.
Dejana was the lowest bidder at $312,752, nearly $10,000 less than their previous contract, and Meadow Carting was next lowest at $326,400.
The impetus to rebid the village’s current trash hauling contract with Dejana came amid complaints from both village residents and board members that the company’s level of service had been slipping in recent months.
Last May, the village had approved a three-year contract with Dejana, despite past resident gripes about the company’s overall service. Many of the resident complaints, according to Mayor Tanner, charged that Dejana was not actually recycling and was simply mixing “solid waste and recyclables” together.
Attorney Anthony Corte, a representative for Meadow Carting, spoke briefly and told the board that “recycling would be a top priority,” for Meadow.
Corte also explained that Meadow, like Dejana, utilizes trucks with side-by-side compartments for solid waste in one compartment and recyclables in the other.
John Mangano, director of business development for Dejana, said that this very fact could explain the complaints from some East Williston residents that the company was mixing regular garbage with recyclables.
“Sometimes, people might see workers throwing trash and the recyclables into the compartments and not realize that everything is being separated out,” Mangano explained. “We take recycling very seriously and we don’t ever mix anything together.”
Moreover, Mangano said, of the 22 complaints compiled by the village’s clerk, not one was for recycling. Tanner said at the hearing that many resident complaints were “recycling related.”
Mangano noted that out of the complaints, seven were made by members of the board or members of board committees; two were from a resident who owns an abandoned house that the Village has won the right in court to demolish and two were anonymous.
“I personally spoke to several complainants,” Mangano said in an email following the meeting. “Those I talked with said their complaints had been resolved to their satisfaction. In my opinion, the complaints were blown out of proportion. Twenty-two complaints out of a total Village population of 2,556 represents less than one tenth of a percent.”
However, a letter of complaint from a 20-year village resident, read aloud at the hearing, criticized Dejana’s overall service calling it “incompetent and unprofessional with poor customer service.”
The resident implored village officials to look past the company’s “low bid” and to think carefully before awarding a new contract.
But, not everyone was dissatisfied with Dejana. One resident of Downing Street reported that he’s “generally happy with the people picking up his garbage,” noting that there will always be people who have a problem with most things.
Mayor Tanner said he hopes to have a decision on the garbage contract by April 1.
In other news:
Garage Sale Day?
Mayor Tanner said the village is mulling setting aside one day per year for village-wide garage sales.
A resident complained of cars going through a Do Not Enter sign on Post Lane. “It’s just dangerous,” she said.
Another resident complained of people keeping their Christmas lights up all year long. “I think it contributes to a downward spiral of the village,” she said. “I think it’s certain people who just don’t want to go up on a ladder and take their lights down.”
Let’s see those numbers
A village resident asked that all financials related to the village be posted on the East Williston website. “It’s all public information, right?” he asked.