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Advance Disposal to Replace Waste Hauler in Douglass MontCo
Written by Sergei Blair, Correspondent

            Douglass Township officials awarded the winning bid to the Advance Disposal, a Norristown-based waste company, during Tuesday's board of supervisors meeting. In a unanimous vote, they also agreed to terminate the existing contact with Keystone Disposal LLC, a company that has been problematic for the borough after residents flooded the township's office with calls about the company's poor and inconsistent service.

            Solicitor Robert Brant announced to the board that he has prepared a contract termination letter and planned on sending it to the Keystone Disposal next day after the meeting.

            The township's recycling and waste coordinator, Andrew Duncan, said that after careful consideration, he decided to select Advance Disposal with their lowest bid proposal at $530,649.02 for a 22-month period. The municipal contract will run on a month-to-month basis with operations starting Wednesday, March 7. Currently, Whitetail Disposal serves as interim municipal hauler.

            According to estimates, the monthly cost for collections is expected to increase from Keystone's original 36-month contract at $278,333.33, with monthly cost of $7,731.48 to Advance's 22-month contract at $530,649.02 with monthly cost of $24,120.41--nearly a 32 percent jump. The new deal could cost the township approximately an additional $20,000 but at a shorter contract length.

            Four other regional waste haulers submitted bids for consideration with Whitetail Disposal trailing Advance at $532,450 and J.P. Mascaro with highest bid at $923,952.

            The move comes after officials were forced to place the Skippack-based company on a written notice in December 2017 and subsequently changed their 3-year contract to monthly basis, all after the company failed to respond to repeated requests to change its practices. "Between then and now, the service with Keystone has deteriorated," Brant said.

            Attempts by the Town and Country to contact Keystone Disposal, after repeated calls and email messages, seeking comment were unsuccessful.  The telephone numbers listed on company's website and Facebook pages have now been disconnected.

            In January 2017, the board voted unanimously to award Keystone, the lowest bidder, with a contract at a cost of $278,333 per year. The company was founded in 2014 by former Douglass Township Solicitor, Paul Bauer, and his then-business partner Shawn Watson. It's unclear who's exactly at the helm of the company, although Attorney Bauer is listed as the sole founder.

            In other news, the solicitor presented a draft ordinance that prohibits recreational and sporting equipment placed on the township's public roadways that could potentially cause an obstruction. Brant said he added a new section 217 to the township's Motor Vehicle Code Ordinance which would enforce the restriction and removal of those items. He said violators will be fined but did not specify the amount.

            Township Manager Peter Hiryak proposed to add paragraph detailing the penalty and include another additional paragraph that restricts residents from piling stones, mulch and other material onto public roads; this includes blowing snow from residential properties directly onto public roadways. Hiryak said he has prepared those paragraphs to be added in the draft. The ordinance will be ready for advertisement on March 5. "It's a very simple ordinance that I think would address a problem that's' been around here for some time," Brant said.

            In another matter, a resident inquired the board about a recent purchase of a 2018 Freightliner truck to replace an aging truck in its Public Works Department's fleet at a cost of $140,462.19. The truck was paid with liquid fuels money which was allocated to the township by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportant (PennDOT) based on its population and road mileage.

            The money, stemming from the state's gas tax, can be used to purchase materials for public roads maintenance, as well as purchasing of heavy equipment. The new truck replaces 1997 Ford dump truck that will continue to be used for highway maintenance.

            "All of our trucks are red but we had an opportunity to purchase a white truck that was in stock and we got it several thousand dollars cheaper," Hiryak said. "It was the same year and model make that we wanted and we were able to get it much quicker without having something to be repainted in red." According to Hiryak, the expedited purchase saved the township roughly $4,000. 

            The Board of Supervisors' next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 5, at 7 p.m.





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