City Council approved a seven-year contract for garbage and recycling collection during a special meeting on Wednesday night, Dec. 8.


City Council approved a seven-year contract for garbage and recycling collection during a special meeting on Wednesday night, Dec. 8.
Council accepted the bid of J.P. Mascaro & Sons, which has been handling these services, as the current contract with Mascaro is set to expire at the end of this year.
Under the terms of the new garbage contract, the city will pay $3.5 million over the first five years, then $732,972 in the sixth year and $765,948 in the seventh for unlimited pickup.
For recycling, which is collected every second week, the city will pay $560,580 for the first five years of the contract, then $123,000 and $128,532 for the final two years.
Council members pointed out that Waste Management submitted a lower garbage bid than Mascaro, but Mascaro’s bid on the recycling portion of the contract was about $50,000 lower.  Therefore, they noted, the net savings to the city was approximately $40,000 by going with Mascaro.
“That’s what we were looking at [in favoring Mascaro],” Mayor Justin Taylor told council.  “It’s quite a bit of difference.”
Councilman Dr. Joseph Marzzacco agreed, stating that Mascaro’s overall bid was “substantially lower.”
In a related matter at last week’s meeting, council voted to keep the garbage fee for 2011 at $280 per residence.  Residents will get a discounted rate of $266 if they pay by June 30 — up from $252 for early payment in 2010.  There is a penalty for paying on or after Sept. 1, when the fee rises to $350.
Prior to the meeting, council held public hearings on three separate issues.  The first was on a proposed revision to the zoning code language regarding the definition of “family.”  The revision would reduce the number of unrelated people allowed to live in any dwelling unit from seven to four.
Councilman Anthony Perri asked if the change would affect foster parents.  Taylor assured him that it wouldn’t, since foster parents are considered legal guardians.
“They operate within a family atmosphere,” he explained.
City Clerk Michele Bannon added that foster parents are protected under the Fair Housing Act.
The second hearing was to receive input on the $4.8 million proposed budget that council approved last month, which showed a $41,000 deficit.  However, there was no public comment.
The third hearing was on the proposed installation of a three-way stop at the intersection of North Scott St., Veterans Dr. and West Side Drive.
James Conarton, owner of Shamrock Custom Cycles on North Scott St., told council that he made the request for three-way signage due to excessive speeding.
“The cars come down at 50 miles an hour,” he noted, creating what he called a very dangerous situation for motorists as well as Carbondale Area students who walk that way on their way to and from school.
Conarton stated that police could find plenty of people to ticket for speeding and other traffic violations at the intersection.
“If they sat there just two hours a day, you’d probably take care of the city deficit,” he offered.
 Council is expected to adopt a final budget — and to vote on the zoning language as well as the proposed three-way signage — at its regular meeting on Monday night, Dec. 20.