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Allenstown officials cut 150 units from curbside pickup

ALLENSTOWN — As of the end of May, any Allenstown landlords owning an apartment building of four units or more must seek a privately operated trash-disposal contractor if they choose to continue to offer waste removal to tenants.

This week selectmen approved changes to the town’s Solid Waste Ordinance, effective May 31. The modification specifically dictates that the town is no longer offering curbside trash and recyclable pickup to apartment buildings with four or more units. Previously, the service was provided to residential buildings with up to six units.

Town Administrator Shaun Mulholland said the change stems from an effort to reduce costs by outsourcing municipal solid waste disposal services.

“We’re in the process of contracting with outside vendors instead of our highway department to reduce the cost to the town,” he said. “We had to draw a line someplace, in terms of which types of apartment buildings we would provide trash pickup for and which ones we couldn’t.”

The amended ordinance cuts roughly 150 units from town-required pickup.

“In trying to obtain a reasonable contract with outside vendors, our goal was to have all the trash picked up in one day,” said Mulholland, “and if we had kept the ordinance the same, which would have added 150 more stops, it would have required the vendor to bring a crew in for another day (at an additional cost to the town).”

Mulholland said the highway department’s current trash removal truck is in need of significant maintenance, or replacement, and noted the target date to begin using an outside vendor is June 1.

“By contracting out, we’re going to save hundreds of thousands over a 10-year period, and that’s a conservative calculation,” he said. “Obviously health insurance and retirement costs are already high and, of course, we expect they’re only going to get higher, but even projecting (the next 10 years) at today’s numbers, and then factoring in vehicle insurance and maintaince costs ... we’re going to see significant savings.”

Though Mulholland said a couple property owners expressed displeasure with the amended ordinance, he said landlords and tenants still have several options.

“If they are residents, they can bring their trash to our landfill at no charge, or the landlords can contract with private contractor” he said. “The reality is these are commercial buildings. These landlords own buildings, so they can contract out if they’d like to continue offering trash pickup.”

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