COVID-19 issues are blamed for delays in garbage collection in Salisbury Township.
The regional manager of the township waste hauler Republic Services answered questions from residents and officials at the Salisbury Township Council of Commissioners meeting on September 23.
Residents also complained about a so-called “nuisance house” in the township.
And a resident said there was a sewer backup in the basement of her house.
Meanwhile, the commissioners voted unanimously 5-0 to ratify a declaration of emergency for Tropical Storm Ida, which dumped more than nine inches of rain in parts of the Lehigh Valley on September 2.
In the remaining cases, in separate 5-0 votes, the commissioners accepted John Barbaz’s resignation from the township’s environmental advisory board and appointed Barbaz for an unexpired term until the end of the year on the commission of planning, with immediate effect.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve Change Order 1 granting a contractor an extension until October 31 for the 2021 Crack Sealing, Chip Sealing, Putty and Fog project.
The commissioners voted 5-0 to certify the 2022 minimum municipal obligation for cantonal pension plans.
As of September 2, Lehigh County emergency management officials have encouraged residents “to report storm damage that may have been suffered after the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida moved through the area.”
“This will allow municipalities and the county to better understand the extent of the damage across County Lehigh,” said a Sept. 2 press release from the county.
Residents of Lehigh County can report damage to their home and property by completing a survey via a link on the township website at www.salisburytownshippa.org.
Residents are encouraged to upload photographs of the damage.
For more information on the damage investigation, call the Lehigh County Emergency Management Agency at 610-782-4600.
Township Board Chairperson Debra Brinton, who signed the declaration of emergency on September 2 for Tropical Storm Ida, said at the September 23 meeting: “In case there are any lingering effects, we wanted to make sure we have something in place. “
Regarding the last item on the agenda for September 23, “Discussion regarding Republic service issues,” Brinton said, “The last item we will discuss is our major issue with Republic service.”
On the day of the meeting, an email from the Township of Salisbury administration read: “Please note due to mechanical issues Republic Services cannot complete the waste route today, Thursday Sep 23. They will continue to pick up tomorrow, Friday, Sep 24, so please leave your items curbside.
Brinton continued at the meeting, “It’s very frustrating. It’s difficult because we’ve just started the new contract.
“And, yes, the prices have gone up and will now go up every year.
“We didn’t have a lot of offers.
“My personal feeling is that Republic is going through the same thing as a lot of companies,” Brinton said.
“It’s a public market. Are there any damages? Township resident Al Albrecht asked.
“I don’t know if that will help,” Brinton said.
Republic Services COO Paul Temby answered questions at the September 23 meeting. Temby said he was appointed director of operations in July.
“We’ve had some turnover, and we’ve had supervisors who’ve left,” Temby said.
“A lot of what we’re going through is the day after COVID,” Temby said, adding, “I don’t think anyone was aware of the labor shortage.
“We plan to right the ship in three to six months,” Temby said.
“Mack had been shutting down for months. All the trucks we ordered are out of stock, ”Temby said.
“My bill and our bill never change,” Albrecht said.
“You have to remember: we all live in the township. We never say, “We are not going to liquidate,” said Commissioner James Seagreaves.
“It’s an option,” Brinton said.
Salisbury Township Director Cathy Bonaskiewich said of the township providing garbage collection: “It is mandatory that the township provide municipal collection.
Regarding the tender for the trash contract and the choice of the Republic, Bonaskiewich said: “We had six interested parties, but we only received two offers.”
The municipal solid waste and recycling contract was awarded to Republic Services at the township meeting on December 10, 2020 when the township budget 2021 was approved. The meeting on December 10, 2020 was held in person by the Commissioners with the participation of the public and the media via Zoom.
The roughly $ 5 million waste contract with Republic is for three years: 2021, 2022 and 2023, with possible renewal in 2024 and 2025.
Commissioners met on December 22, 2020, again via the hybrid format, to approve a resolution to increase waste and recycling rates effective January 1, 2021, to $ 93 per unit per quarter or $ 372 per year.
The 2020 township garbage collection rate was $ 68 per quarter per unit or $ 272 per year.
The increase includes a new front-door collection service for 2021 of electronic equipment for recycling.
Pickup of household electronics and hazardous waste at the resident’s front door should be arranged by a phone call to the waste hauler.
Monday-Friday garbage pickup has also been approved and Saturday’s pickup has been phased out. The collection had to be done twice a week with once a week for recycling.
The end of the garbage collection on Saturday would have aggravated the problems in the township.
Some residents at the September 23 meeting said they would be okay with having the trash picked up once a week.
“Most townships get one once a week and recycle every two weeks,” Temby said.
Tropical Storm Ida is also believed to have contributed to garbage collection problems in the township.
“I’m not sorry that my garbage isn’t picked up for two weeks,” township resident Chad Clauser said sarcastically.
“I don’t like the fact that there was a 40 percent increase and it was 10 times worse,” Clauser said.
“Is it fixable, Paul?” Brinton asked Temby.
“Yes it is,” Temby replied.
“So let’s fix the problem,” Brinton said.
In other cases, township resident Holly Weiss complained about a house along Garden Avenue: “They’ve been bringing junk for two years. I know Sandy [Salisbury Township Assistant Manager Sandy Nicolo] came out to take pictures.
“Firefighters have been there twice,” Weiss said.
“The police have been there, I can’t tell you how many times,” Weiss said.
“There are people coming and going. And it’s a drug-free zone, ”Weiss said.
Salisbury Township Police Chief Kevin Soberick said: “We have been very active with this residence. And some things I can’t say we’re working on.
Weiss also said she had a sewer backup in her home. “I have never had a sewer backup,” Weiss said.
David J. Tettemer, Salisbury Township Consulting Engineer, Keystone Consulting Engineers, Inc., said: “This latest storm [Tropical Storm Ida], hundreds of manhole covers blew across the valley.
“I’m not saying there aren’t any problems there. We are looking for these areas all over the canton, ”Tettemer said.
Salisbury Township Public Works Director Jim Levernier told Weiss and residents, “The township has spent millions of dollars and decades studying your area. You are in the lowest part of the system.
“We are doubling the pipes. And we fixed the breaks on avenue Emmaüs, ”said Levernier.
“We know there’s a lot of water going in there. The whole east side over there is very wet, ”said Levernier.
The commissioners met in executive session after the meeting to discuss two legal issues and one real estate issue, Brinton said.
The township commissioners meeting on September 9 has been canceled.
Additionally, an email from the Township of Salisbury administration on September 24 stated: ‘Please note: after October 2 weed will no longer be accepted at the Devonshire Drop-off Center. Residents will still be able to use the Franko drop-off center during its operating weeks for weed disposal for the remainder of that drop-off season.
The Council of Commissioners is then scheduled to meet at 7:00 p.m. on October 14 in the meeting room of the Municipal Building, 2900 S. Pike Ave.
PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEIN Republic Services Director of Operations Paul Temby answers questions at the Salisbury Township Council of Commissioners meeting on September 23.