Phillipsburg town council passed the first reading of a new ordinance that bans clothing donation bins from town-owned property.
Representatives of the READ Foundation, whose bins will be affected once the ordinance goes into effect, asked the council to reconsider and target offenders together.
But town officials uniformly declared the offer too little, too late and not worth the cost.
“It’s a quality of life issue,” said council president Todd Tersigni. “Unfortunately, there’s a victim of circumstance.”
The New Jersey Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act of 1987 requires New Jersey municipalities to recycle textiles and report tonnages, a service offered by the bin owner.
The Foundation, which operates in hundreds of municipalities across the state, has donated $80,000 to five organizations in Phillipsburg since 2008.
Mayor Stephen Ellis said it cost up to $700 a weekend -- not including landfill fees -- for Department of Public Works employees to remove the trash, adding up to more than the $80,000 in overtime and other cleanup expenses already.
And since Phillipsburg’s Clean Communities Program handles textile recycling, the bins aren’t the sole means of being in compliance with state law.
Also, negotiations over the future of Phillipsburg’s Free Public Library continue.
Warren County Freeholder Director Jason Sarnoski and Phillipsburg Mayor Stephen Ellis met again to discuss a compromise over the library’s funding.
Ellis said he wanted the county’s rate of payment to decline over a 10 year period, reducing by $50,000 per year so the town had time to cover the difference.
Sarnoski countered with an offer for the county to take over Phillipsburg’s municipal library, which would cover employee salaries and make the site a satellite of the new Southwestern branch.
However, Phillipsburg residents would have to pay into the county library tax, and the library would function more as a community center, Ellis said.