AP NEWS

Meyersdale mulling over garbage increase

January 9, 2019

The Meyersdale Borough Council is examining the impact of a garbage bill increase.

During a meeting Tuesday, council President Jeff Irwin said that the borough’s garbage provider, Harbaugh Trucking in Rockwood, is requesting the monthly rate to be increased by $2,330.86. That would increase the borough’s rate from $11,475 per month to $13,805.86.

Irwin said that on the advice of solicitor Marc Valentine, of Meyersdale, the borough should offer to pay about a quarter of that cost, $600 a month, to the company. The council unanimously voted to make that offer.

To offset the extra cost to the borough, Irwin said the council could increase the rate by $1 a month and bring in an extra $956 per month. The borough bills quarterly. Current rates are $39 a quarter for residents and $45 for businesses.

To cover the entire requested amount, Irwin said the rate would have to be raised by $3 a month, bringing in $2,868 monthly. The council took no action Tuesday to increase the rate.

“I think we are very fair. This is a very poor town,” Irwin said of the offer to Harbaugh. “If Mr. Harbaugh isn’t happy, we’ll let him out of the contract and rebid.”

The current garbage contract went into effect on Nov. 1, 2017, and expires Oct. 31, 2020.

A Harbaugh representative could not be reached Tuesday evening after the meeting.

Somerset attorney David Flower, however, wrote on behalf of the company in an Oct. 24 letter requesting the increase.

In the letter, Flower wrote that the tipping fee for the Mostoller Landfill in Somerset increased from $31.70 per ton of waste to $38.50 per ton, effective Oct. 1.

“Pursuant to the terms of the contract and in order to merely maintain status quo, Chris (Harbaugh) is requesting an increase in the monthly collection and disposal fee being paid to him from $11,475 per month to $13,805.86 per month effective October 1, 2018 when the most recent increase became effective,” Flower wrote.

“Chris did not ask for the increase earlier in the year, although he was entitled to ask for the same and this adjustment will only permit him to maintain status quo and will not afford him any additional profits!”

The relationship between the trucking company and the council has been rocky in the past few years, including court disputes related to collection fees. The company has been the borough’s long-time provider, starting in 1993.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the council unanimously voted to increase police Chief Mark Kasterko’s hourly rate by $2, to $24 per hour.

The department is also looking to add to its six part-time officer force.

Councilman Dan Parisi said the number of officers the borough is looking to hire is “open.” Parisi said a listing for the positions can be found on the department’s website at www.mbpd.net.