Sanitation bids come in high at Russell Gardens

The Village of Russell Gardens opened up sanitation bids and pitched its 2019-2020 budget on Thursday night. (Photo from Google Maps)
The Village of Russell Gardens opened up sanitation bids and pitched its 2019-2020 budget on Thursday night. (Photo from Google Maps)

Bids for garbage pick up in the Village of Russell Gardens came in much higher than usual on Thursday night, with the current contractor nearly doubling its proposed cost of doing business.

Christine Blumberg, the village clerk, said they received two bids for garbage pick-up services with their current contractor Meadow Carting being the lower of the two – and they came in with an offer about “85 percent higher than what we’re paying.”

“We budgeted 110[000] this year and the bids came in way over,” Christine Blumberg, the village clerk-treasurer, said on Monday. “Both of them. One higher than the other.”

Russell Gardens Village Mayor said the bid came in at $195,000 and the other firm offered to do pick-up for more than $200,000.

The village’s website says that Meadow Carting picks up garbage thrice a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – save for federal holidays. Bulk pick-up is on Friday and newspaper and recyclable pick-up is on Wednesday.

Meadow Carting, a Westbury-based company, has done business across the North Shore and the Great Neck peninsula, according to the Town of North Hempstead and several village websites.

Among its clients are Great Neck, Lake Success, Saddle Rock, Thomaston, Great Neck Estates, Kensington and Kings Point.

According to the 2019-2020 proposed budget, the village budgeted $110,000 for sanitation this year. This is in line with previous increases: they budgeted $101,500 for 2017-18 and $105,840 for 2018-19.

“I think they were all in shock,” Carole Simon, a Russell Gardens resident who attended the meeting, said on Monday. 

John Quirk, the general manager for Meadow Carting, said the bid came in higher because of today’s economy “and everything else.” But, he noted, it came in much lower than the other bidder.

Quirk also said that he spoke with Russell Gardens Mayor Steven Kirschner on Monday morning and that Kirschner plans to call Anthony Core, the owner of Meadow Carting.

“What they tell me is that the per house unit that they calculated was well under what it was costing them to pick up the garbage,” Kirschner said.

“It’s probably not a totally unrealistic bid,” Kirschner later added, noting his firm’s experience representing New York City’s sanitation union. “I’m hoping I can work something out because of the huge increase from 2018 to 2019.”

But, Kirschner said, the village has developed a healthy surplus that could “certainly more than cover unforeseen contingencies” if necessary.

In other village business, trustees also introduced the proposed 2019 to 2020 budget, which is worth about $2.01 million. This is $257,200 higher than the current $1.75 million budget.

Property taxes remain roughly the same, inching up a few hundred dollars from $1.2 to $1.21 million. Most of the budget’s increase can be linked to $125,000 in expected state aid for roads and $245,750 worth of surplus, compared to the $133,665 in the current budget.

The transportation budget is expected to rise from $755,250 to $884,250, according to the proposed budget, while the cultural and recreation department’s spending is slated to go up from $115,000 to $165,000.

The budget also proposes raising the government support budget, which supports staff, supplies and building maintenance, from its current $410,700 to $451,750. Public safety’s budget would also increase $20,000 from $45,000 to $65,000.

The final budget will be presented at the village’s Jan. 3 meeting.

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