November 30, 2021

Council needs feedback to decide on trash contract

Kevin Conlon/city editor

A Bert Adams Disposal crew collects recyclables Tuesday on Colony Drive in Cortland. City Mayor Brian Tobin said a decision whether to continue contracting with Bert Adams to provide the service will lie with residents and their opinions.

Cortland’s decision on whether to extend its trash and recycling collection contract or seek a new service provider will rest on what residents tell their Common Council members, Mayor Brian Tobin said Tuesday.

“At this point, it’s important for council to have discussions to make sure that they can have input from their constituents that can help lead the way,” he said.

The city’s contract with Bert Adams Disposal expires in December, which prompted a discussion at last week’s Common Council meeting on the city’s options: extend its contract for another year; or request that companies bid to provide the service.

Glass collection is also problematic, Tobin said at the Sept. 21 meeting.

Glass is collected separately from other recyclables on the first full week of a month, according to the city Department of Public Works. All other recyclables are collected on other weeks.

Additionally, Tobin said a shift away from the city’s blue bag system to one involving a same rate for service regardless of waste, for example, could encourage people to recycle more.

The city pays Bert Adams $267 a ton, said Public Works Superintendent Nic Dovi.

The three-year contract, which began in 2019, allows a three-year extension that can be enacted twice.

Extending the contract would give the city more time to research options and providers while keeping its trash and recycling collection service the same, Tobin said. Additionally, it gives more time for councilpersons to get constituents’ opinions.

Dovi said he could research how other nearby municipalities run their trash and recycling services and see if Cortland would be interested in doing something similar.

“If we want a good program, we really need to do a deep dive into what other communities do, what’s available and what our options are,” he said.