GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 18, 2013

City trash pickups don't add up for nonprofits

Many of Gloucester’s nonprofits were forced to privately contract their trash pickup this fall, when the city cracked down on an ordinance that prohibits the non-profits from participating in regular pickup.

But some are hoping that will change, as Gloucester prepares to draft a new contract with the city trash collecting agency.

“The one ray of hope is that the councilors will remember this issue when the next municipal trash contract comes up for their consideration,” said Bill Thoms, a member of the Orthodox Congregation Church of Lanesville who petitioned city councilors to reconsider the ordinance in January.

City councilors first changed an ordinance to specify that nonprofits would not be included in city trash pickup in April 2011. But when members and directors of some of Gloucester’s non-profits, began receiving letters from the city telling them to cease their trash operations this past fall, they were shocked. Thoms then asked city councilors to reconsider on behalf of the city’s array of resident-serving nonprofits.

“It was quite a shock to be notified and told that we need to cease participation,” Thoms said. “What is the purpose of these organizations, but to make the lives of our residents better?”

Hiltz Disposal, the city’s contracted trash collection provider, would charge an additional $76,278 to the city annually to add the nonprofits to its routes, according to minutes from a January council committee meeting.

That estimate, calculated by Hiltz, includes a $50,000 disposal fee, an almost $20,000 collection cost, and another chunk of cash for supplies.

The private contractor would also charge another $292,419 to collect trash from Gloucester’s multi-family homes that house more than four families – another group not covered under current pickup schedules, according to the minutes.

The three councilors on the city Ordinances and Administration council committee, hearing the estimated cost from public works employees at the January meeting before making a decision, voted unanimously to close discussion on the topic without making any changes.

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