The township is exploring the possibility of outsourcing its sanitation services in an effort to save money.
“Sanitation collection costs the township $1.3 million a year,” township manager Scott Carew said following Monday night’s council meeting.
He added that the township has put out a request for proposal (RFP), and the township will have a better idea of potential savings once bids are returned. They are due in the middle of November.
The township has been working with TrashPro, a solid waste and recycling consulting business that currently serves 37 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and military bases across the country, according to TrashPro President Robb Willis.
Willis said every other municipality in Burlington County, with the exception of Evesham, has begun to outsource its collection.
“Each one that has outsourced has saved a substantial amount of money,” Willis said. “The cost of doing business for a municipality is greater than it is for an independent hauler.”
He didn’t cite specific numbers, but said towns have saved between $800,000 and $1 million. He also said every municipality he’s seen that’s considered outsourcing has followed through, although Eastampton began outsourcing its trash pickup and switched back to collecting it in-house.
“They’re a small municipality and they had undedicated streets where they had to use their own trucks for pickup anyway,” Willis said. “It didn’t make sense for them to outsource and use their own trucks, so they switched back. It was because of the economic situation.”
Independent haulers charge a certain price each month for each home they must collect from, and that price can change if new developments are added to a township.
Deputy Mayor Chris Chiacchio told Patch last week the township uses seven or eight trucks with several Public Works employees dedicated primarily to trash pickup. Trash is taken from Moorestown to a landfill in the Chesterfield/Bordentown area, and the township sometimes loses money on taking trucks that aren't full.
The township hopes to save a “significant amount” by outsourcing.
While it remains unclear how much money Moorestown would save if it decides to outsource, it’s also uncertain how many jobs may be affected.
According to Carew, the Public Works Department is currently staffed with about 40 employees.
“There might be some things we provide now that (the independent haulers may not do), which Public Works would still have to provide,” Carew said.
He said the township would like to keep its recycling center open, and that tipping fees would not be affected by any change in collection method.
According to Carew, the township is currently responsible for 91 public dumpsters, with half of those coming from apartments and condominiums.
The Joint Purchasing Program’s Municipal Apartment Condominium Collection Services (MACCS) handles trash collection for apartments and condominiums in 14 Burlington County municipalities twice a week. It was created in 2004 at Willis’s suggestion after a study he conducted showing liabilities in trash collection for 11 municipalities. Three more joined the program in 2009.
MACCS charges for each container, and that cost can fluctuate based on the size of the pickup.
“If you have a 100-pound couch and you leave it outside in the rain, it becomes a 300-pound couch,” Willis said. “They’re going to charge more for that. The weather can affect prices all year long, in the winter with snow and in the summer with rain.”
He said municipalities still end up saving more than $1.3 million, on average.
Once bids are returned, it will be up to council to determine if it wants to begin outsourcing trash collection.
Carew said once the bids come in, the matter would be on the agenda at the next meeting. A decision would likely be made by the end of the year, he added.