Royersford Borough could soon decide to enlist a commercial disposal provider to handle the borough's trash service.
A discussion of the issue at the borough's storm-delayed council meeting on Thursday coincided with the retirement announcement of Conrad Bauer, the borough's public works director. The 68-year-old Bauer will retire shortly after the new year begins.
Right now, Bauer's six-man department spends two of its five work days each week collecting the borough's trash. Bauer said his aging staff ― his youngest employee is 53 ― is physically suffering under the workload.
"These guys are shot. Three out of the four [visit their] doctor monthly for shots to the spinal cord. Every one of them have been told that this is not a permanent solution, that it's going to come to an end. And then it's an operation or disability," Bauer said.
Councilman John Kring and borough manager Mike Leonard said outsourcing the trash collection could ultimately the save the borough money in addition to reducing the borough's trash operations to a single day each week. Kring also noted that the current arrangement exposes the borough to additional workman's compensation issues.
Another factor motivating Royersford to consider outsourcing is that the borough's agreement with its landfill provider expires at the end of 2013.
The council also held a discussion on its proposed 2013 budget, which Kring said included a three-percent wage increase for the borough's police force but did not include additional monies requested by Royersford Police Chief Kevin Schurr, who was not in attendance.
"We had what the Chief wanted in terms of his budget," Kring said, "and it came to bigger dollars than we're prepared to give."
Kring said the finance committee told Schurr that he would get the contractually-obligated wage increase but "not a dime more ... than last year" and that Schurr would have to find a way to "make it work."
"He can decide how he wants to push this camel through the door," Kring said. "It's up to him. We're just not going to keep opening the purse. Maybe he needs less clerical [workers]. There's different things that he can do to jockey the numbers around."
Though council members reviewed copies of it during the meeting, the borough declined to make a copy of the proposed budget available for inspection. Leonard said the budget was in "draft" form.
Other Royersford notes:
- The borough has obtained an $8,000 grant from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation that will be used to install new backboards, rims, and fencing at the Victory Park basketball courts. New lines will also be painted. The work will be completed by the spring.
- Mayor John Guest praised Royersford police officer Tom Godin for his service as the borough's emergency management coordinator. "From everything I've seen, he was on top of everything and did an outstanding job," Guest said. "This wasn't an exercise ... this was the real thing."
- Leonard said he fielded 150-200 calls on Wednesday "wanting to know when Halloween was." He said he confirmed to each caller that Halloween was, indeed, on Wednesday.
- The borough paid for a street sweeper to clean up the borough's streets following the storm. Leonard said he expected to recoup the cost of the sweeper's operation through unspecified FEMA funds.