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Trash piles up at schools

The council approved resolutions to enact the agreement with the Board of Education at its September meeting.
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The council approved resolutions to enact the agreement with the Board of Education at its September meeting.

The Bayonne City Council has approved a resolution authorizing a shared services agreement with the Bayonne Board of Education to extend garbage collection days at schools.

The agreement between the city and the Board of Education is for $325,000, according to Law Director Jay Coffey. It runs retroactively from Jan. 1, 2021 until Dec. 31, 2023, with two opportunities to renew the agreement for another consecutive year.

Coffey said the Board of Education’s Finance Committee approved the agreement ahead of the resolution presented to the council at its September meeting.

“This is going to go to five days a week,” Coffey said. Previously, garbage was collected at schools only two days a week. Pickups now run Tuesday through Saturday.

Hoping for a change

The move drew praise from officials, some of whom have been dismayed by the garbage.

“I’m hoping this will solve a lot of problems,” Third Ward City Councilman Gary La Pelusa said. “I’ve gotten a lot of complaints in the last two months about the garbage and how its being put out in schools. It definitely has an effect on the neighborhood. So I’m hoping this will help.”

City Councilman At-Large Juan Perez echoed La Pelusa: “I totally agree with you Gary. I had to call Mr. [Kenneth] Kopacz several times. There’s a school right next to my house where they just dump the garbage. It’s all over the floor. It’s on the street. But he does a good job of calling, and they come and clean it up.”

Director of Public Works Tom Cotter said, “This will see the garbage picked up every night at every school. This way there won’t be an abundance of school trash. As long as they put it out properly, we will be able to pick it up. So it won’t be a problem.”

Amending the garbage contract

The council approved a resolution amending the garbage contract to allow for the additional pickups at schools.

In June, the council approved a $4,094,712.50 million contract with A + L Disposal for garbage collection. The contract runs until Dec. 31, 2023, with two opportunities to renew the contract for another consecutive year.

The contract sparked controversy following its approval, due to an alleged donation by the contractor before the contract was awarded. Residents voiced frustration with garbage collection service provided to the city by A + L through the emergency contract enacted in January until the fulltime contract was approved in June.

The agreement with A + L was amended in August to include the rental of 20 ten-yard dumpsters at various Bayonne Housing Authority locations for $117,600. This brought the total to $4,212,312.50.

The agreement has again been altered, this time to provide solid waste collection to grammar and high schools following a request from the Board of Education.

Pickups have started

At the September meeting, Coffey read into the record the resolution, which alters the existing garbage collection contract with A + L Disposal to include the daily pick up of trash at schools during the week. The extended services started on Sept. 18.

“The timely collection of solid waste materials is essential for the health, safety, and welfare of the students and employees of the BBOE as well as the citizens of the City of Bayonne,” the resolution states.

The additional pickups will cost the city $12,450 this year, and $43,160 for 2022 and 2023. An additional $98,770 will be added to the contract. The contract is now up to $4,502,592.50, according to the resolution.

Following the approval of the agreement, resident Anthony Conti wrote in a Letter to the Editor to the Bayonne Community News: “I want the people in the Third Ward and entire city of Bayonne to know that Gary La Pelusa Sr. and his assistant at city hall, Beth, really care for the citizens and the wellbeing of our quality of life. They listen to our woes and then go into action. Thank you both for your hard work on passing an ordinance to alleviate the overflow of garbage at all public schools in Bayonne by establishing daily pickups instead of two days a week.”

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. 

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