Keep garbage hauler, residents tell Swissvale council

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Swissvale has used Waste Management as its garbage hauler for some years now, and a number of residents hope that doesn't change.

At council's Oct. 30 meeting, Mary Ann Eisler, who has lived in the borough since 1973, presented a petition with more than 70 signatures to keep Waste Management.

She said she considers that a small sample, since she started the collection just a week ago.

She added that a number of businesses and churches are supportive of her campaign.

Several residents who also attended the meeting said the specific crew that serves the borough is not only efficient but has gone out of its way to help them dispose of their trash.

And the feeling is mutual. A member of the crew, Joe Favata of Unity, also in attendance, said he wants to continue to service Swissvale because of what he sees as a growing civic spirit.

"I'll have a job" regardless of what happens, he said, but "I've always helped the community. That's why I came -- so that [council] can hear me."

According to council President David Petrarca, the borough paid Waste Management just over $650,000 for the year 2013.

But according to borough solicitor Robert McTiernan, giving Waste Management another year isn't a simple matter.

"Sometimes contracts have an option year," which had been the case with Waste Management, he explained. "Now we have to bid it because the contract expired -- once it's expired you have to bid it."

Mr. Petrarca said the original contract was signed in 2008 for three years and extended three additional years.

Two other trash haulers, Biggs Sanitation and Allied Waste, have submitted sealed bids per legal requirements.

"They're studying them now -- the engineer's involved, the staff, council," Mr. McTiernan said. "I really don't know when that decision will be made. If a bidder's qualified, we have to [go with] the lowest bidder."

Mr. Petrarca, noting that the bids received weren't for identical work, said that council likely would reject all the bids at its meeting last night and reopen the bidding.

Mr. Favata, who said that he spends more time in Swissvale than at home, also said that he would even consider moving there himself.

"You've got to do what's right for the residents," Mr. Favata said to council. "I'm not here for me; I'm here for them."

That was not the first time he had addressed council, and he promised that it wouldn't be the last.

"Now do you see why we need to keep these people?" Ms. Eisler said.

Rick Nowlin:

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