By JOHN T. WARD
Months later than expected, Red Bank officials agreed this week to enter a new five-year contract for private trash hauling, one that will increase the frequency of recycling pickups.
They also agreed to hire an outside attorney to look into disputed emails about the bid specifications.
At its final session of 2020 Wednesday night, the council approved a contract with DeLisa Demolition that would see the Tinton Falls firm paid $4.56 million over three years.
Marpal Disposal, the only other bidder, offered to do the work for a total $5.16 million over three years.
Five years ago, when the borough privatized solid-waste hauling, DeLisa won the work with a $1.49 million bid for the first three years. As per the contract, the town exercised an option to extend the pact for two years, into 2020.
redbankgreen asked Business Administrator Ziad Shehady: Does that mean Red Bank’s trash removal costs have tripled in five years?
Here’s his response:
- The frequency of recycling collection is doubling for the public (based on demand and a Borough effort to encourage more recycling which will reduce our garbage tonnage costs)
- The amount of public litter baskets around the town (downtown, parks, streets, etc.) has increased based on demand and feedback. In the 2015 bid specs the Borough only had 99, this time we’re at around 160 baskets. The 2015 bid specs only called for these baskets to be collected twice per week, and they will now be picked up seven days a week.
- Metal products were being picked up by Borough employees but under this new contract, the vendor will be picking them up.
- The schools will receive the necessary collection 4 times a week.
Separately, Shehady said there “are no significant changes or reductions in service,” under the new contract. “The frequency of bulk collection was adjusted to once per month and recycling collection was increased to once per week,” from twice a month.
He said the administration plans to meet with DeLisa to work out details, and afterward will “publish an announcement outlining the changes that will affect the public.
As previously reported, the emails centered on assertions by Shehady that Councilman Ed Zipprich appear to be out to “sabotage” the bidding for a new trash hauling contract.
Councilmen Erik Yngstrom and Hazim Yassin have called for an investigation into whether Zipprich had improper contact with DeLisa while bids were being solicited.
Zipprich, however, maintains his communications with DeLisa was aboveboard, and that the anonymous release of the emails should instead be investigated.
Under the resolution appointing him, Cooke is to produce “a report opining as to whether the Borough should commission an independent investigation of the facts and circumstances regarding potential interference with the Borough’s sanitation contract bid during the summer of 2020 and/or the subsequent release of confidential information related thereto in August 2020.”
The written report is to include Cooke’s “findings, conclusions and suggested corrective action(s), if any.” He’s to be paid a fee not to exceed $7,500.
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