December 2, 2021

Homer extends trash contract for a year

Homer village residents will have their trash picked up by Syracuse Haulers Waste Removal for at least one more year and possibly five more after the board of trustees decided Thursday to take another year to figure out how the village could provide the service itself.

However, not everyone was happy about the deal.

“This is a dumb, dumb thing to do especially when we can save money by doing it ourselves,” said Trustee Ed Finkbeiner. “One year isn’t going to help anything.”

The board voted, 4-1, to extend the contract with Syracuse Haulers for six years. Finkbeiner voted no. However, the board would have an option to leave the contract each year. If it decided to leave, it would need to notify the company in December. The cost to collect the trash for 2020 to 2021 is $166,757.40.

“That’s exactly what we’re paying this year — so there’s no increase” from the current cost, said Tanya Digennaro, the village treasurer.

Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe said he favored entering the contract because it gives the village more time to plan things out.

“I just want to measure twice, cut once on this, Ed,” McCabe said.

“You’ve had a whole two years since I’ve worked on it and made presentations on it and did analysis,” Finkbeiner said. “We’ve had Tanya (Digennaro) do an analysis. That is a waste of money, but I only got one vote.”

However, McCabe said the two studies to determine whether the village should collect trash itself or stay with Syracuse Haulers were “miles apart.”

Digennaro said Friday that she’s working on an analysis of costs to haul trash, including training for employees and a shed to store a truck. She said Finkbeiner is doing a cost analysis of how much it would be to haul trash year-to-year. However, she said neither is finished because the board still has to decide the number of employees to haul trash, the routes and other issues.

Syracuse Haulers’ contract expires in February. The board sought proposals in April and began investigating how much it would cost to provide service itself. The contract would include collection of both trash and recyclables, but not for tipping fees, which are $80 a ton.

If the village takes over collection, it would be done by the Department of Public Works, McCabe said, adding he thinks it could save residents $50,000 to $60,000 a year.

However, the village would need to buy a truck, which would cost about $230,000, but would last about 17 years, and might need to hire an additional employee.

“We’re all in favor of it (doing it in house), but we need to take our time,” said Trustee Kevin Slack. McCabe also said that part of the decision to sign the contract with Syracuse Haulers again was because the village staff has been pushed hard all year on other issues.

“We’re being pretty aggressive about a lot of things,” McCabe said. “You know we can’t afford to pay big big bucks to our folks so I’d hate to see us running them into the ground.”

“I’m not buying that argument, either, especially when I see them standing in front of the doorway all six or eight of them for 20, 30 minutes at a time,” Finkbeiner replied. “They’re not working that hard. We haven’t had turnover, people aren’t quitting. I’m not buying it.”