He said Raritan Valley collects garbage twice a week and recyclables once a week.

Pepe also said Raritan Valley froze its prices this year, locked in its fuel rate and is providing an electronics recycling box to borough residents for no extra fee.

D’Aniello said the company is willing to continue to lock in the fuel rate “so you’re pretty sure of your costs going into the next extension year.”

The Raritan Valley spokesman told council that Emmaus is one of only a few communities in the Lehigh Valley that has twice-a-week trash collection.

D’Aniello said Raritan Valley will continue to offer that twice-a-week collection “and get a rollback in your rate anywhere from – and I’m really going out on a limb here –three to five percent and locking in your fuel. I think that represents a tremendous savings to the borough.

“We’ll negotiate in good faith,” promised D’Aniello. “I think you’ll be very pleased with the offer that Republic/Raritan Valley has.”

Timetable for decision

Pepe said members of council have spent several months developing a new bid specification package, which he said covers 43 or 44 pages.

“Our current contract states that by July 1 we need to tell our current hauler, which is Raritan Valley, if we plan on making a move, which means we would need to get this out for bid in May, with a decision in June,” Pepe told council. He said council would vote on bids at its June 16 meeting.

The borough manager advised council: “We need to make a vote, one way or the other, on May 5 – whether you’re going out to bid or you’re staying with Raritan Valley.”

Council’s general administration committee, which is chaired by Barrett, will meet at 6:30 p.m. May 5 and make a recommendation to full council, which will meet at 7 p.m. that day. D’Aniello of Republic Services plans to attend that 6:30 p.m. committee meeting.

Said Barrett after the meeting: “In recent years, council has made a concerted effort to rebid all of our services -- to be sure we are getting the best rate for the services our residents expect.

“If Raritan Valley is interested in our business for a one-year contract extension I would see no reason that they would not be interested in a three-year contract.”

Currently, Raritan Valley only collects residential trash through its contract with the borough.

Labenberg said another goal is to eventually get all commercial properties included under a new borough trash hauler contract, because Emmaus gets a state refund based on the weight of recyclables it collects. “It would bring more revenue to the borough.”

“That’s one of the things in this contract that we would not be able to do if we’re just looking to renegotiate the current hauler,” said Barrett.

Progress on Indian Creek development

Also during the meeting, council had a first reading vote on a proposed ordinance creating a long-discussed Age Qualified Community Overlay zoning district on 12.54 acres north of Chestnut Street and west of Cedar Crest Boulevard.

That zoning change is needed to prepare for the development of Fields at Indian Creek, an age 55-and-older residential development planned by Kay Builders on the former Indian Creek Golf Course.

Atty. Tom Dinkelacker, the borough solicitor, reminded council it already has created an ordinance allowing age-qualified communities as a use in certain zoning districts in the borough. Council approved that zoning law in early September 2013.

Dinkelacker said this will be the first time the borough’s overlay district ordinance is being used.

The overlay proposal for Fields at Indian Creek now will go to both the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and Emmaus Planning Commission for review. The solicitor said the borough cannot give the overlay district final approval until the LVPC has the proposal for 45 days.

Most of the proposed 211-home development will be in Upper Milford Township.

Dinkelacker said a joint meeting of the Emmaus and Upper Milford planning commissions will be held on June 2 to discuss the Fields at Indian Creek project.

First reading of the ordinance for the Fields at Indian Creek project received unanimous approval from borough council Monday.