Garbage in, garbage up: Price increase for town bags next month

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Town Board members were in agreement Tuesday that the price of town garbage bags should be increased.

Taking your garbage to the Recycling Center will likely cost more as of February 1.

The Town Board was in agreement at Tuesday’s work session with Highway Department Superintendent Jay Card Jr. to raise the price of town bags Islander’s deliver their so-called “wet garbage” to the center.

The board agreed to vote on a resolution to raise the prices at the January 17 meeting, with the law taking effect two weeks later.

The price increase will be about 10 cents per gallon on all bags. Councilman Ed Brown worked out the math that came to about 25 cents more for mini-bags, 50 cents more for small bags and 75 cents more  for large bags.

The town recently signed a contract with National Waste Services of Bay Shore, the sole bidder to haul what’s known as its municipal solid waste (MSW), the stuff seven out of 10 residents put in town bags and take to the Recycling Center. The rise in bag prices is to partially offset the price paid to cart the waste off-Island.

Currently the town is losing money on MSW. The price per ton to haul the waste material has gone from $114 in 2009 to $120 this year. Proposed rates will see a rise per ton of $132 for 2014 and four years down the road the projections come in at $148 per ton. But while those hauling rates went up, the price of town bags stayed flat.

The board is also considering Mr. Card’s strong recommendation to license the private garbage carters on the Island. Licensing would allow the town to find out where the MSW is going and, more importantly, get figures on how much the private carters are hauling.

This will be important data to collect if the town decides to go into business for itself hauling MSW off-Island. If the town decides to go that road— the current contract with its hauler allows termination with 90 days notice — revenues could increase.

The move would allow the town “to control our own destiny,” Mr. Card said, but there are multiple costs to consider. These include purchasing a truck, containers and a compactor. Startup expenses for the town, with aid from the New York State Department of Conservation, are estimated at a total of $137,500.