Trash pickup: New contract could raise rates 75 percent; Bucks County community concerned

A difficult decision in a Bucks County town, where officials are deciding between cutting down on trash pickup, or hiking fees up to 75 percent.

"We've seen inflation over the last few years has been kicking us all in the pants," said Christopher Vagnozzi. He is talking about why an increase in trash collection fees is going to hit hard for many residents.

"Especially 75 percent, seems a little egregious to me," said Vagnozzi. He lives in Middletown Township, in Bucks County, where for the past few months, township officials have been working on a new five-year trash collection contract.

"We had a favorable rate for our residents back then and we're now seeing the impact of general marketing increases for this type of service," said Nick Valla. He is the assistant township manager.

"We've all seen inflation go up quite a bit in the last several years. Any kind of manual labor like this - the trash and recycling market, having to dispose of these materials has also gone up," he said. Valla says the township has received three bids with Waste Management being the lowest. The township has put together several options.

One allows residents to continue the service they have now. But with a 75 percent increase, manual collection with a worker picking up trash twice a week would go from $401 a year to $700 per year. Other options include switching to automated collection where a truck picks up the cans either once or twice a week.

Valla says the lowest of the two would cost about $475 to $480 a year.

"There's a total of 10 options we've put out there, all playing with the type of collection, frequency of collection, the change of bulk waste and the like," said Valla.

Amy Lemp says all of it comes with some hefty problems.

"I mean, you're talking about more money out of your pocket or more weight or stuff collecting on the side of your house and then people's jobs," said Lemp who also has a concern for her elderly neighbors.

"That's hard for some of them just to get their trash bins down to the end of the curb and now you're talking about doubling the weight in these bins for them?" she said.

Next week the board of supervisors will provide an informational update for residents. They expect to award the contract during its August meeting. The current one expires this December.