Garbage collection contract sparks controversy

Thanks for the truck?

The contract will run until 2023.
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The contract will run until 2023.

The Bayonne City Council has awarded a $4,094,712.50 garbage collection contract to A + L Disposal LLC that will run until 2023. A + L Disposal was awarded an emergency contract in January, pending a fulltime contract.

The city can extend the contract for two more years, bringing the total to $7,670,482.50 over four years. This contract was awarded despite numerous resident complaints that since A + L took over, garbage was collected late and sometimes not at all.

The city council approved the measure 4-0 at its June meeting, with City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski abstaining. She said she was “uncomfortable” voting for the measure, citing a recent gift from the contractor to the city while the contract was out for bid.

In May, the council unanimously approved a resolution accepting a $64,327 donation from Joseph Bolowski to purchase a new pickup truck for the Office of Emergency Management. Bolowski owns A + L Disposal.

Donation rescinded

According to A + L Disposal attorney Chris Patella, the donation has since been rescinded. A + L Disposal was the lowest of three bidders on the garbage contract.

According to Law Director Jay Coffey, the donation was rescinded the day after the council approved the contract, on May 13.

“This specific (since rescinded and never effectuated) donation was made to the CITY OF BAYONNE, not a political party, candidate, committee, election related committee, campaign committee, political party committee or legislative leadership committee,” Coffey said in a statement.

“The State’s law makes an exception for contracts awarded pursuant to a ‘fair and open process’… The purpose of the law is to provide oversight on political contributions as they apply to contracts awarded outside the state’s Fair and Open contract award process, neither of which occurred here. I believe that this donation was rescinded out of an abundance of caution by the contractor’s attorney.”

Or still in use?

However, according to Ashe-Nadrowski, the council was never informed that the donation was rescinded, the council did not take official action to rescind the donation as it did to accept it, and the truck was still in use as of last week.

“When the council voted, to all our knowledge, we had accepted the gift of the truck and as far as I know that is still the case,” Ashe-Nadrowski said in a statement.

The 2021 Ford F-250 was used during two periods of time, one for city business and the other for personal use, according to attorney Patella.

The first was the week that the city approved the donation. According to Patella, the pickup truck was given back to Bolowski on May 15.

The second was the week of June 20, when OEM Coordinator Junior Ferrante asked Bolowski to borrow a truck, according to Patella. As of June 23, Ferrante was no longer in possession of the vehicle.

Despite the drama over the controversial yet rescinded donation, the pink garbage trucks of A + L Disposal will collect the city’s garbage for at least the next two years.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.