Municipal officials on Tuesday approved a contract with a new hauler of recyclables following months of difficulty with a company that had been charging New Canaan more than neighboring towns.
The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of the contract with Danbury-based Oak Ridge Waste and Recycling. The two-year contract calls for Oak Ridge to haul recyclables at a rate of $83.74 per ton, compared to the $85 per ton that New Canaan currently is paying Stamford’s City Carting, and the $95 per ton that City Carting offered in responding to the town’s bid for the job.
“We are doing slightly better going forward than what we were paying City for this year,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann told members of the Board of Selectmen during their regular meeting, held via videoconference.
The estimated $215,000 annual contract also calls for a per-pull cost of $189 for recyclables.
Officials said in November that New Canaan was paying $85 per ton while Wilton was paying $65 per ton for similar services. New Canaan Department of Public Works Assistant Superintendent of Solid Waste Don Smith said in January that he’d been unable to reach City Carting to get an explanation for the discrepancy.
Asked about City Carting’s failure to return calls during this week’s meeting by Selectman Kit Devereaux, Smith said that the “new general manager apologized for all that.”
“But I already told him the damage is done,” Smith said. “And then they tried to negotiate after-the-fact when we put it out to bid again and I said no.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, Devereaux and Selectman Nick Williams voted in favor of the new contract with Oak Ridge.
William asked what drives the pricing for the work. Mann said the two major elements are pull and tonnage costs.
“So each time they pull one of the containers, there’s a cost for that, and then a tonnage cost,” Mann said. “And the driver is that there’s not necessarily a market.”
Though New Canaan’s materials may be “clean” or better than other towns’, Mann said, “It’s not a question of what we are giving them. It’ a question of what they are getting from all and then having to find a market for it. The market is still bad.”
According to Smith, right now Darien “is the only town getting a rebate as part of their long-term contracts.”
“Greenwich is staring to paying $65 per ton for the first time ever, and Wilton is still paying $65 without a contract and they don’t know what the pricing is going to do at all because they don’t have a contract,” Smith said.