Trash-hauler J.P. Mascaro & Sons won a three-year contract to collect trash in Emmaus on Monday night.
The new contract begins Jan. 1.
Trash will be picked up only once a week, rather than twice a week as it is now.
Trash in the entire borough will be collected in just one day, explained borough council member Brent Labenberg.
Albert DeGennaro, deputy counsel for Mascaro, told borough council his company submitted an excellent bid that will save Emmaus more than $300,000 a year for three years.
“It’s certainly in your taxpayers’ best interests to take that bid and act on it,” recommended DeGennaro.
Mascaro’s bid is $786,836 for the first year, $790,560 for the second and $794,186 for the third.
DeGennaro said Emmaus is paying Raritan Valley Disposal, its current trash hauler, $93,000 a month -- $1,116,000 a year.
"You folks will save significant dollars,” he said.
Labenberg said he is supporting hiring Mascaro with the understanding that the savings will be passed on to Emmaus residents and businesses.
Council’s vote to hire Mascaro was 5-1. The sole negative vote was cast by council member Nathan Brown. He asked his colleagues to do the same.
Brown said he’s spoken to multiple borough residents who told him Mascaro’s customer service in Emmaus was not the best in the past.
“What I’ve heard numerous times is ‘whatever you do, do not let J.P. Mascaro back in’ even though they’ll save them a buck or two,” said Brown.
He said the residents with whom he spoke would rather pay more to be assured of a quality trash hauler. He suggested council hire Waste Management.
Council member Brian Holtzhafer guessed Mascaro last collected trash for the borough about 12 years ago.
“Could their business have changed?” asked council member Roy Anders. “Could they have different management? We’ve all had some bad experiences many years ago. Things do change.”
Anders noted many other boroughs are using Mascaro and asked if anyone had spoken to them.
“Twelve years ago, Mascaro was horrible,” said Labenberg. “Trash was all over the streets, barrels were not placed on the sidewalks, there were complaints galore. “But I agree with Roy that 12 years have passed and they’re the lowest bidder.”
Labenberg said the contract includes language that Emmaus can fine Mascaro if it is not doing the job properly, which he said he adamantly would support.
Borough solicitor Jeffrey Dimmich said the company also can be terminated if it does not uphold the contract.
Council member Jeffrey Shubzda said Mascaro once sued the borough. He didn’t know the details about that lawsuit, but said: “It kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”
Borough manager Shane Pepe noted that could not be the basis for Shubzda’s vote and the council member agreed.
Dimmich said the contract had to go to the lowest responsible bidder, explaining “responsible” includes a historical precedence of not doing the job correctly, but he added that had to be legally documented.
Outside the meeting room, DeGennaro of Mascaro said it was unfair that Brown raised objections to his company at a point in the meeting where he could not respond.
He said Mascaro was last in Emmaus more than 12 years ago, but did not know exactly when its last contract with the borough ended. And he said the borough was given references by his company.