Raritan Valley, the borough’s current trash hauler, did not submit a bid to win the new contract. It also did not attend a pre-bid meeting with the borough.
Raritan Valley has been collecting trash in Emmaus since 2011.
Raritan Valley said start over
Before the vote to hire Mascaro, Andy Foster of Raritan Valley unsuccessfully urged council to reject the current bids and re-advertise for new bids.
He claimed doing so would save the borough money.
Foster argued there are legal errors and ambiguities in the borough’s “flawed” bid specifications-- including some that are contrary to Pennsylvania law -- which “created an uneven playing field and a lack of a common standard as to what every bidder was bidding about.”
He mentioned the possibility of lawsuit, which would have to come from a borough taxpayer, “if these issues are not corrected.”
“Re-bid this contract and give everyone a clean, fair and equal chance,” urged Foster.
Responding, council member Labenberg told Foster: “I don’t understand why you weren’t at the pre-bid meeting. That’s why we have pre-bid meeting, so you can ask about any concerns you have in the contract. Any questions you have you could have asked at the meeting.”
The council member also told Foster the contract he was “ripping apart” is the same contract Raritan Valley was hired under.
DeGennaro of Mascaro told council: “It’s a ruse to suggest there’s not an even playing field. It would not be fair to reject these bids. I think it’s sour grapes. They didn’t bid; they should have bid.”
Dimmich, the borough solicitor, told council that “perhaps” some language in the bid specs might have been clearer, but told council it would survive a legal challenge.
“Can I tell you that you won’t get sued?” said Dimmich. “No. You can get sued by anybody for anything at any time. But they do need to have a taxpayer that would want to come forward and make the actual complaint, because the company itself cannot complain about the bid.”
DeGennaro said Mascaro would join in defending Emmaus against such a lawsuit.
State money sought for culvert project
On another issue, council approved the borough manager quickly applying for state grants to help pay to replace a deteriorating culvert that runs beneath North 10th Street, just north of the intersection with Chestnut Street -- beyond the Advance Auto Parts store.
A branch of Leibert Creek flows through the culvert.
Pepe said the borough has been trying to do the project for about five years. “It’s a budgetary issue, but now it’s turning into a safety issue.”
“The pipe is collapsing, so the road’s going down with it,” said Holtzhafer.
Pepe said the culvert is a galvanized metal pipe that has deteriorated. “It is in very bad condition.” He explained the plan is to replace it with “an open-face cement culvert.”
He said council has budgeted $145,000 to do the project this year, but the cost has ballooned to about $200,000 because the entire culvert must be replaced and the road rebuilt.
Pepe said the Emmaus will only have to pay 30 percent of the total cost if it wins the grants.
The manager said the original idea was that another pipe could be slipped inside the existing pipe, “but we can’t do it; it’s too bad. It’s in really bad shape.”
“We’ll have to dig up the entire road all the way down to the creek---18 to 20 feet down,” said Pepe.
He said that project is complicated by the fact that water and sewer lines run under 10th Street.