Confirmed: Single Hauler Plan Would Cut Bethlehem Trash Bills 40-60%

Nicole Radzievich says the bids are in, and they are in fact considerably cheaper than what most Bethlehem residents pay now:

While city officials are still reviewing the five bids, the city’s preliminary calculations show the annual bill per household could range from $137 to $209, depending on who the lowest qualified bidder turns out to be.

City officials estimate the average bill now is $340.

The numbers don’t include recycling fees, which are now at $60. City officials are still evaluating the recycling portion of the bids. The city could also add an administrative fee to the hauling proposal.

“It’s very clear from the numbers that a considerable savings could be passed on to the residents of the city of Bethlehem and they could get better service than they are getting now,” Mayor John Callahan said. “The numbers don’t lie.”

But of course Eric Evans is still trying to weasel out of a vote, even though he now knows this plan is cheaper and better. He won’t even commit to a committee hearing on the plan:

“If the administration wants to talk about it, I’ll listen, but I don’t want to just rehash what’s already been said,” Evans said.

Evans said he’s not sure how the bid numbers would factor into deciding whether to change from the current private system, where residents can choose their own hauler, to one city-contracted hauler. Calling it “economics,” he said large companies can bid low, eliminate competition and hike their prices […]

Evans said the administration has asked for a committee meeting of the entire council to discuss the matter, but said he doubts there is consensus to convene one. He said he would welcome the chance for a public discussion on other trash-related issues such as zoned hauling.

LOL Eric what else is left to factor into your decision? Is it cheaper? Check. Is the service more comprehensive? Unless the deal Bethlehem gets is for some reason way worse than the one every other municipality gets, then you can check that off too. Does it have popular support? Check. There’s nothing else to debate.

Also, the idea that you’re going to sign a contract and then the company is going to turn around and raise prices above what you agreed to is paranoid nonsense. It proves Evans doesn’t have the analytical chops to make these decisions.

Luckily if City Council doesn’t pass this thing this Spring, people can vote Evans out in the May primary. The last vote on this narrowly lost, 4-3. You only need to elect one or two more supporters to get it over the line, and there are at least two open seats on the ballot for City Council.


  1. What’s your take on the ordinance issue? Is there something on the books that specifically prohibits the city from contracting with one hauler? I can’t find it on the website, but that doesn’t mean I’m searching correctly or that it’s online.

    With Donchez and Reynolds running for mayor, I can see them not wanting this legislation to come up because if they had to vote on it, it would reinforce their position and upset one set of voters or the other.

    I attended the marathon meeting that went until 1 AM and even blogged about it myself. Come on Bethlehem, let’s do this already.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      I don’t think there’s anything prohibiting it. Doesn’t City Council just need to approve the contract?

      Todd why don’t you run for Council?

      • In the original article the “an ordinance replacing the current system with one that would allow the hiring of a city-wide hauler” part is what concerns me. Raritan knows a lot more about trash hauling and laws regarding hauling than I do, so if one of their lawyers thinks something might make the contract illegal, something must be on file.

      • Todd why don’t you run for council?

        Jon we can agree on this wholeheartedly. Been trying to get him to run for weeks now.

  2. Nothing is confirmed until the recycling fee and the city’s kickback – er, administrative fee – are decided.

    Your headline is incorrect, please retract.

    • Nothing is incorrect about it. Bids are bids. Tack on $100 for the things you are mentioning and you’re still seeing savings, and that’s high end.

      • Rich I don’t trust these guys as far as I can throw them.

        When the deal is 100% outlined let’s see what it looks like. Until then it’s meaningless.

        • I find Mayor Callahan to be a very, very trustworthy guy myself.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          It’s not meaningless, we know that the recycling fee is $60, and we know approximately what the admin fee would be, if there even is one. I see Michael is saying there would be no fee in 2013. Any way you shake it it’s cheaper.

          • The numbers don’t include recycling fees, which are now at $60. City officials are still evaluating the recycling portion of the bids. The city could also add an administrative fee to the hauling proposal.”

            Where does it say here that the recycling fee isn’t changing? And you do remember that the whole reason this is on the table is because of the kickback!

            Talk to me when you have a firm proposal.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            There are a variety of reasons this is on the table. In addition to the fee, it will also make the city cleaner, reduce the cost of living for most residents, and reduce truck traffic.

          • Don’t kid yourself Jon – it’s on the table because they need the money. The other stuff you cite may be gravy (if it all bears out, and that’s a big IF), but that stuff didn’t matter it was always about the cash.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            It’s not a big “if”, other municipalities demonstrate every day that the savings and improved service are real. They all attest to it, even your favorite Republicans in Hanover.

    • Jon Geeting says:


      • I’ve known him for 20+ years. Know his wife, know his kids.

        How many times have you even talked with him Jon?

        I like him, he’s a friend. But he’s a politician through and through.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          I’m sure knowing John for 20+ years has given you great insight into what the administrative fee is going to be

          • It gives me insight that there will be one, guaranteed. Couple reasons:

            They need the money.

            It’s politically easier to get the fee in place now than next year. If you get it now, the savings may only be 20% off your current bill. However, if they get it next year then it’s 40% savings this year and a 20% increase next year – much easier to do now than later.

            Mr. Recchiuti’s comment that there will be no fee because it’s not in the budget doesn’t stand scrutiny for the above reasons. What politician is going to turn down revenue because it’s not in the budget? Get real.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            I’m sure they’ll eventually end up going with a fee, if not this year. What you haven’t come anywhere close to showing is how the combined recycling and admin fees would make single hauler more expensive for the average resident than the current market design.

          • What I’ve said Jon is I don’t make deals until ALL the details are on the table. Not some, ALL.

            You’re not detail oriented, make shit up as you go, and love to make decisions without information in hand, or better yet a stacked “study” backing you up.

            That’s why it’s great that you work for a woman-beating criminal piece of shit. You’d never survive in the real world.

          • Jon Geeting says:

            LOL you lost the argument and now you’re attacking a straw man. Who on Earth is saying anyone should vote on a contract without knowing all the information? I supported putting the $500K in the Bethlehem budget as a placeholder, as a way of putting pressure on City Council, but that’s not at all the same thing as saying people should approve a hauler without seeing the full proposal.

          • How’d I lose the argument?

            Your headline is factually inaccurate in reaching its conclusion, then your post stated that this should be passed this Spring. Jon, you’re advocating passage without knowing all the details. That’s fucking stupid! Never do that, ever.

  3. Michael Recchiuti says:

    Just to clarify a few things.
    1. There would be no large administrative tacked for 2013, since the budget was passed without.
    2. The recycling fee is presently $60.00, I would assume that will stay the same.
    3. RVD/Republic’s concerns were addressed by the City Solicitor’s office. Additionally, I spoke with Mr. McReynolds, who advised his concern was that the contract be awarded without an Ordinance change. Clearly, the city would not do that unless Council changes the law. RVD did not bid.
    4. It is more than just approving the contract. An Ordinance needs to be passed that would institute the single hauler.

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