Princeton landfill costs could increase as town hall looks for management options

Princeton residents may end up paying more for their landfill, as the municipality looks for a new way to manage the facility.

“We’ve been very lucky for years with our landfill operation costs,” said Mayor Spencer Coyne in an interview with The Spotlight following Monday’s council meeting. “We’ve been dodging bullets really. We’ve been running a lot cheaper than the other landfills and we are probably going to end up paying for what we never used to. We are looking at options.”

Those options, council learned, include negotiating with one local contractor who has expressed interest in the project, reaching out to the regional district to see if that body could play a role, or putting the municipality in charge.

The present contract to run the landfill, with JR Contracting, expires in March with the contractor unwilling to renew the agreement.

A Request For Proposals was issued in November 2018. While eight companies requested documents, none of them submitted bids.

A report to council by Jamie Umpleby, director of infrastructure and parks, said “a majority of the companies were concerned that the operation is relatively small and somewhat remote from their other operations. They also expressed concern that they would not be competitive price-wise based upon the current contractors’ revenues and expenses.”

In 2018 the municipality paid JR Contracting $318,316 – $238,122 for garbage and $80,194 for recycling.

Umpleby said if the town assumes the landfill operations it would cost more to run, because under its collective agreement employees would receive higher salaries and benefits.

Those expenses could push the annual operating costs to between $475,000 and $575,000, he said.

Additionally, the town would need to purchase some of the equipment from the current operator, which is estimated to cost between $200,000 and $300,000, according to Umpleby’s report.

JR Contracting has agreed to a month-by-month extension of the current contract while the town looks at is options and secures a new operator.

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