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Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

Photo: ARC makes its rounds on last day of contracted service to the city

post by Howard B. Owens in bativia, garbage collection, Genesee ARC

Genesee ARC crews were out and about this morning picking up garbage. It's the last day of a 28-year run for ARC as the contracted trash collector for the City of Batavia. From now on, residents are required to arrange for their own garbage collection with a private hauler. ARC is going into competition with five other companies that will provide trash service.

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Another garbage company entering the Batavia market, offering totes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, garbage collection

Mark Smith sees a business opportunity in Batavia: To provide local residents with a garbage service that includes totes.

Smith is owner of Nu Way, an Arcade-based company that already has residential and commercial clients in Genesee County.

When Smith learned none of the companies that will start offering trash service in the City of Batavia will offer totes, Smith thought, "I can do that."

Starting June 1, when the Genesee ARC contract expires, the local trash market becomes open to competition.

The tote is optional. Nu Way will also offer bag pick-up.

The price for bag service is $22 month for five 30-gallon bags a week. The tote price is the $22 basic fee plus $4.50 a month. The service includes one bulk item per week.

Totes are 90 gallons, but a smaller tote can be requested.

Totes are also available for recyclables.

To contact Nu Way, call (585) 492-5880.

Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Pero brothers entering trash business in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection

Jeff and Dave Pero see a business opportunity in Batavia -- picking up garbage.

The brothers took over management of rental properties owned by their grandfather after he died last year and when they started getting pricing for garbage collection under the new open-market system in Batavia, they thought it would expensive to hire a company to pick up trash at all of those properties.

They decided they would just take care of garbage collection at their own properties themselves, but that thought was quickly followed by another, "why don't we just do it for the whole city?"

Jeff and Dave won't be the first Peros to offer garbage collection in Batavia. Their great-grandfather had a trash company at one time.

They're buying a dump truck and will operate as Trash Away, picking up residential garbage. Customers who put out fewer than six 30-gallon bags per week or three standard trash cans per week will pay $18 bucks a month.

People who live alone and generate no more than one bag of trash per week will get a special price of $10 a month.

Trash Away will also pick up an unlimited amount of recycling.

When customers need bulk item pick-up or yard waste pick-up, Trash Away will offer the service by appointment and the price will be negotiated based on the size of the job.

The company will also offer attic, garage and basement clean-up for a fee.

For information call (585) 250-4065 or e-mail them at [email protected]

Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 11:05 am

Worker for Waste Management delivers 4,500 door hangers to all the homes in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection

Meet Dave. Dave is an employee of Waste Management, tasked with walking every residential street in Batavia to hang door hangers promoting the company's garbage collection service.

Starting June 1, city residents will be responsible for contracting with their own refuse and recycling company.

Besides Genesee ARC, local companies such as Gardner Disposal and PSI (and a third one that will announce its new business soon), are competing for customers.

Asked if WM will offer totes, Dave said only if enough customers sign up for WM's service.

Dave's worked nearly the entire city since Saturday by himself, with just some help on Saturday and Monday. He had only two more blocks to visit when we spoke.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

No trash haulers planning to offer service to Batavia residents will offer totes

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, garbage collection

If you're a city resident who thought you might get totes for your garbage and recycling starting June 1, you will be very disappointed to learn that none of the haulers planning trash service for Batavia will offer totes.

Not even Waste Management, one of the largest refuse collection companies in the nation, will offer totes in Batavia.

Genesee ARC, who had the contract with the city for garbage collection for 28 years, will offer the same bag and can service the agency has always offered.

Jeff Gardner, starting up Gardner Disposal, will pick up bags and cans, and PSI, based in Alabama, will pick up bags and cans.

Or you can drop off your own bags at Scofield's transfer station in Stafford or the Town of Batavia's transfer station.

But a tote that you can wheel to the curb? Forget about it.

Waste Management will charge $24 a month for up to a dozen 30-gallon bags. The quarterly rate, with fees and fuel charges, will come to $92 to $95.

Genesee ARC will charge $21.95 a month for curbside pick up of cans and bags, or you can buy 10 bags at a time for $30, or ARC will offer a drop-off service at the West Main site is 10 cents per pound.

The new kid on the block, Gardner Disposal, will be locally owned and operated and at least to start. The new owner, Jeff Gardner, will also be the garbage man picking up the trash.

He plans to charge $20 a month for up to seven 13-gallon bags or up to five 30-gallon bags. (Gardner offers more information on his Web site.)

PSI is $25.50 per month for six bags a week.

All services will offer free recycling pick up, but again, no totes.

As for bulk items, prices will vary and picks must be scheduled with your contracted hauler.

Here's a list of companies and phone numbers offering service to Batavia residents

Gardner Disposal: (585) 343-4626
Genesee ARC: (585) 343-1123 or 585-343-4203
PSI Disposal, Inc.: (585) 599-3255
Waste Management, Inc.: (800) 333-6590

Transfer stations to drop off refuse, recycling and bulk items:

Scofield Transfer and Recycling: (585) 343-7373
Town of Batavia Transfer Station: (585) 343-1729

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm

ARC announces pricing plan for trash pick up in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection

Genesee ARC told WBTA today what the agency plans to charge local residents for garbage pick up starting June 1, when the city will stop providing taxpayer-subsidized garbage collection.

Traditional curbside service is $21.95/mo, self-directed bag service is 10 bags for $30 and drop-off service at the West Main site is 10 cents per pound.

No word yet on how to sign up for the service.

WBTA reports that an ARC representative said the price levels will help the agency remain solvent and continue its programs and mission.

For 28 years, Genesee ARC had an exclusive contract with the City of Batavia for curbside trash and recycling collection, but all of that changed when the city decided to take measures to get the cost of trash collection out of property tax bills.

After a public protest over a proposed automated system using totes with a contract for garbage collection going to an Arizona-based company, the council voted to get the city out of the trash business completely.

Starting June 1, property owners will be responsible for contracting with a priviate hauler or taking their garbage to a transfer station. Other contractors planning to service the city are Gardner Disposal, PSI Disposal and Waste Management, as well as transfer stations Scofield Transfer and Recycling and Town of Batavia.

Here's a list of contractors and phone numbers provided by the city in a letter to residents:

Gardner Disposal: (585) 343-4626
Genesee ARC: (585) 343-1123 or 585-343-4203
PSI Disposal, Inc.: (585) 599-3255
Waste Management, Inc.: (800) 333-6590

Transfer stations to drop off refuse, recycling and bulk items:

Scofield Transfer and Recycling: (585) 343-7373
Town of Batavia Transfer Station: (585) 343-1729

Friday, March 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

City sends letter to residents about private trash pick-up

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection

Letter from the city to residents:

As of June 1, 2013, City of Batavia residents will be responsible for their own curbside pickup of refuse, recycling and bulk items. Each property owner will either select a vendor of their choice or have to transport their refuse and recycling to a transfer station.

The City has contacted several refuse haulers in the area who are interested in collecting refuse, recycling and bulk items on a private basis. The City has not negotiated a price for this service and is not recommending a particular hauler.

Gardner Disposal: (585) 343-4626
Genesee ARC: (585) 343-1123 or 585-343-4203
PSI Disposal, Inc.: (585) 599-3255
Waste Management, Inc.: (800) 333-6590

Transfer stations to drop off refuse, recycling and bulk items:

Scofield Transfer and Recycling: (585) 343-7373
Town of Batavia Transfer Station: (585) 343-1729

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 10:18 am

It's Official: Starting June 1, city residents will need to make their own arrangements for trash removal

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection
Kris Doeringer
Tim Buckley

Calling it the best solution possible, the Batavia City Council voted Monday night to remove garbage collection from the tax roles, remove city responsibility for garbage collection from the municipal code, and tell residents they're now on their own for getting rid of their trash.

Letters from the city to all property owners will go out within a week or so outlining the new rules for city residents and providing them with a list of vendors for trash collection.

Starting June 1, residents will contract with their own hauler  -- or haul it themselves -- and pay their own bills.

"This will make it fair for everyone," said Councilman Kris Doeringer. "It was not fair that some people were paying more than others based on the assessment rather than on the amount of trash they produced. It was just as unfair that businesses had to pay for a service that they were not even using and others did not pay anything at all."

The trash issue has been broiling in Batavia since late last year when city staff revealed a plan to change the municipal code to require an automated tote-based system for garbage collection and open up the refuse and recycling contract to competitive bidding.

For 28 years, Genesee ARC had provided garbage collection in the city, but after ARC was the highest bidder on the new proposed contract, ARC's supporters flooded council chambers through multiple meetings demanding the proposed changes be rejected.

And they were, but council members were still unwilling to give up the double-digit decrease in the tax rate from dropping garbage collection as a city service.

Many ARC supports said, "if it's not broken, don't fix it," but council members, such as Doeringer, said the old system was broken and it needed to be fixed.

Council President Tim Buckley also said the old system was unfair.

"The process now is fair," Buckley said. "I spoke to a widow who lives on the Northeast side of town. She's called me a couple of times. Her assessment is up there and she puts out one bag of garbage every week. She said, 'I go by every week and I see houses with five or 10 bags out.' She said, 'why do I have to pay for that?' It's not fair for her. OK, now it's fair for her."

Doeringer, as did Councilman Pierluigi Cipollone, made it clear they thought the proposed garbage collection plan brought forth by City Manager Jason Molino was pretty good.

"The residents would have received a needed service at a reasonable cost," Cipollone said. "The city would have realized a $1.2 million savings over five years. The city could have used those funds for providing other needed services."

Cipollone cast the lone dissenting vote to change the system to an open market.

While Doeringer believes getting the city out of the garbage business both accomplishes the council's goal to reduce city expenses and is responsive to his constituents' wishes, he regrets the new system won't do much to encourage recycling.

"I was shocked to realize people didn't want a better recycling system," Doeringer said. "They didn't want a system that's more efficient and would help the environment. They didn't want a system that helps clean up the streets from the many animals getting into the garbage, and most surprising, they didn't want a system that would cost less, now and in the future."

Doeringer, Buckley, Patti Pacino, John Canale and Jim Russell all left the door open for revisiting the trash issue for the 2014-15 budget.

"I will personally monitor the system," Canale said. "I will look at what the effect is going to be and if it proves not to be effective in my opinion, then I will personally spearhead an effort to propose a new system that is fair and effective for everyone."

Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Local and national companies lining up to compete for Batavia's residential trash business

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection

The Batavia City Council is scheduled to vote on a revised solid waste law that will "get the city out of the trash business" starting June 1, and if that happens, there are private haulers ready to try and woo new customers in the city.

Genesee ARC, of course, has said the agency will continue to offer trash collection service in Batavia, and also plans to expand into other parts of the county.

In a survey of other regional trash haulers, two companies said they plan to compete for customers, a third is considering it, a fourth has no comment and two others couldn't be reached for comment.

Ready to jump into the market are Waste Management, one of the largest trash haulers in the nation, and Town of Alabama-based PSI. Both said they plan to offer residential trash service in Batavia.

Erik Grimm, owner of Suburban Disposal, based in Monroe County, hadn't been aware of the proposed change for garbage pick-up in Batavia, but once he learned about it said it was something his company would research and consider.

"There are economies of scale in the collection industry and without proper route density, there isn't a viable service delivery strategy," Grimm said, adding that his company would have to quantify the risk of opening up routes in Batavia and determine if enough business could be generated to begin operations in the city.

The 28 years of experience Genesee ARC has collecting trash in the city and the obvious loyalty many local residents have for ARC would be one of the risk factors in any business calculation, Grimm said.

"Some level of loyalty is something we would have to think about, absolutely," Grimm said.

Lori Caso, WNY spokeswoman for Waste Management issued the following statement when asked about her company's plans:

Yes, it’s our understanding that Batavia is in the process of creating an open market area. Yes, Waste Management is interested in providing service to the area. In fact, we are in the process of creating a special dedicated phone number to give them priority service.

Both Waste Management and Suburban would offer the kind of automated tote pick up the city tried to institute with a proposed trash ordinance that was shot down by the council three weeks ago.

Allied Republic would have won that contract had the new law passed. John McGoran, manager of municipal services for Allied, did not respond to phone messages asking about his company's plans for Batavia.

Depending on Monday's vote, PSI is ready to offer trash service in Batavia, said owner Pete Stanley.

PSI works out of facilities in Alabama and is currently the contracted disposal service for the Village of Le Roy and Town of Alabama and has customers in Erie County and Attica.

Stanley said his company has always been supportive of ARC and delivers to ARC a lot of recycling material that it picks up.

He said he made his plans to offer trash service to residents of Batavia without knowing that ARC planned to continue to offer trash service, but he said it will be up to residents to decide who they want to do business with.

What PSI offers isn't much different from ARC's service -- using trash cans, bags and bins.

"I'm not going to low ball a number to get the work if (ARC is) going to be out there," Stanley said. "I'm going to offer a number that's reasonable because it costs money to run those trucks. I'm going to put my number out there and if people want to come to us that’s fine."

Dave Boon, of Boon and Sons, which partnered with ARC on a bid for the contracted tote system that was rejected by the City Council, did not return phone messages.

Tom Moran, of Youngblood Disposal, based in Rochester, said he had no comment at this time.

The other option for city residents will be for them to deliver their own bags of garbage to transfer stations.

Bruce Scofield, of Scofield Roll-Off Service, has already started advertising his transfer station in Stafford as a possible garbage drop-off point.

He said for a couple bucks a bag, residents who don't generate a lot of trash -- such as older residents without children -- could save a good deal of money by using a transfer station such as his rather than contract with a refuse collection company.

Donna Saskowski, executive director of Genesee ARC, said she can't discuss details of the ARC's new business operation will be until it's approved by the board next week, but she did say ARC was definitely planning to compete for customers in Batavia.

"I have no doubt we'll be competitive," Saskowski said, citing the hometown location and solid reputation as a trustworthy company as probable competitive advantages.

Of course, many people have said they will stick with ARC because they support what ARC does for local residents, even if it costs a little more. Saskowski indicated though that she realizes it will take more than loyalty to build a business.

"We've gotten a lot of very excellent support from many people in the city," Saskowski said. "For most people, if they're not particularly moved by our mission, it's going to come down to price."

UPDATE: Dave Boon called back and said he's been out of town. At this time, Boon and Son has no intention of going into the trash business in Batavia. Boon said he respects what ARC does and it would feel like "backdooring" them to come into Batavia after working on a partnership agreement for the previous bid.  "I'm not looking to come out and step on their toes," he said.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 8:58 am

Council hears from public on proposed changes to trash collection law

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, garbage collection, Genesee ARC

There was nearly a full house for Monday night's public hearing on proposed changes to the City of Batavia's garbage collection law.

Most speakers -- and most applauders -- argued for some variation of "keep Genesee ARC" as the city's official garbage collection agency.

A couple of speakers said the city should get out of the garbage business.

There was no vote or comment by the council itself Monday. Council members did what they do at public hearings -- sat and listened.

The council is considering a proposed change to the ordinance that would take the cost of garbage collection off the tax rolls, end a 28-year relationship with Genesee ARC, and leave it up to each individual resident to contract with a garbage collection company of his or her choice.

Even the speakers who favor free choice said they would go with Genesee ARC if the price was competitive.

"If ARC chooses to provide trash service I will go with them," said John Roach, who supports the proposal to get the city out of the trash business. "It's the right thing to do and a good many people feel the same way."

But many supporters, such as Carol Grasso, said the city has pulled a fast one on residents by proposing a single-payer, pay-as-you-throw tote system and then when people protested, just saying, "OK, we'll get out of the trash business."

"Council may have misunderstood what we wanted," Grasso said. "Many of us wanted it to stay the way it was."

Grasso suggested that if the council votes for the new ordinance, come November, local voters may just "throw out the garbage."

Mary Ellen Wilber suggested that supporters of ARC may just seek the 400 signatures necessary for a ballot initiative to overturn any decision that gets the city out of the trash business.

"We need to do something together as a city and work together," Wilbur said. "You guys need to understand it wasn’t really broken. I don’t know what happened that this came to this point, but it has to be equitable for everybody."

Thomas Houseknecht said the proposed change unfairly increases the cost for city residents who can least afford the increase and offered to serve on a committee that would help the city come up with a better plan for garbage collection.

Several people made such an offer, and even supporters of choice, such as Jim Rosenbeck, said the city hasn't collected enough public input, studied the issue thoroughly and given it enough time.

"Trying to make the decision in two months is unfair to people," Rosenbeck said.

While he also offered to serve on a trash committee, Rosenbeck clearly favors getting the city out of the trash business.

"I don't believe the sky will fall if the city gets out of the trash collection business," Rosenbeck said. "It works in the town. It works in other communities. I think if trash piles up on the streets, you folks are charged with making sure that's taken care of, and I trust that you will."

Donna Rae Sutherland said the city getting out of the trash business is "bad governance" because it's the city's responsibility to provide shared services that benefit all residents.

Part of the economic calculation, she said, needs to include the local impact of Genesee ARC on jobs created, taxes paid, money spent locally -- the whole multiplier effect of local employment.

A trash collection committee should be formed, she said, to come up with a plan in conjunction with ARC that will increase recycling and create shared revenue with the city.

A select-your-own system, she said, is just going to lead to problems.

"Absentee landlords and unruly tenants will certainly clash over who pays and who is responsible for trash collection," Sutherland said. "Neighbors with garbage contacts and business owners with Dumpsters will find other people’s trash added to their own. Pocket parks and green spaces and back alleys will become drop garbage zones and our streets will become more congested with trash vendors."

Roach said, free choice works in other communities and there's no reason it can't work in Batavia.

"Former City Council President Charlie Mallow has moved to Webster where they have this free choice system and everybody has a different service provider," Roach said. "According to the former city council president, it is not a major problem, trucks running up and down the streets or anything like that. It’s workable. Glens Falls doesn’t have a problem. Saratoga doesn’t have a problem. The Town of Batavia doesn’t have a problem. Get out of the trash business. I don’t need anybody telling me who I have to hire."

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