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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Stone Harbor Looks to Retain Trash Collection Practices

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By Vince Conti

STONE HARBOR – During the spring 2021 budget process, several Stone Harbor Borough Council members called for a review of the borough’s unique trash collection practices.

Part of the motivation was a desire to reduce some of the costs that pushed the budget to a tax increase, in 2021. Another significant concern was a labor market that made it impossible for the borough’s Public Works Department to get the number of seasonal workers required to implement the trash collection process during summer. 

Stone Harbor’s practice, termed “concierge service” by Business Administrator Robert Smith, is for trash cans to be collected by borough workers from the back of homes, carried to the trucks for removal, and then replaced by the workers at the back of the house. The property owner or renter is not required to place the cans at the curb, as is the practice in most other locations. 

The practice serves a purpose with rental properties where the individuals in the home may depart days before a scheduled trash collection. The borough wants to avoid those cans sitting at the curb either full or empty.  

The practice is time-consuming for borough staff and expensive in terms of the number of staff required, especially during the twice-a-week pick-up schedule normally in place during summer. 

Council discussed several options during its Sept. 7 work session, including outsourcing, changing the service to curbside pickup, and various permutations of mixed service arrangements that utilize both borough staff and an outsourced vendor.  

The consensus of the governing body was that the existing practice should be maintained. Smith and Chief Financial Officer James Craft were charged with looking at ways to improve efficiencies without altering the basic service.   

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