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Potential $270K Savings to Mamaroneck Village From Garbage Route Consolidation

Consultants’ report to trustees sees savings as big as $270,000 a year through route consolidation and elimination of backyard pickup.

Mamaroneck Village residents, accustomed to having their backyard garbage cans emptied twice weekly, could see a proposed economy move cut those collections to one.

The reduction in collections was among a number of cost-cutting recommendations—including an end to backyard pickups and a volume cap for commercial customers—contained in a report by the engineering consulting firm Malcolm Pirnie.

The village had asked the consultants to study today’s six collection routes and determine whether it could effectively create and staff a five-route schedule. It would contain a separate run for commercial customers and consolidate the remaining residential routes into four. The consultants concluded that some form of consolidation could be accomplished, ultimately saving the village as much as $270,000 a year.

In a separate study, Malcolm Pirnie recommended splitting off the Parks Department from Public Works, creating a standalone organization reporting directly to the village manager.

Meeting Monday with Malcolm Pirnie’s Robert Matarazzo and Jennifer Paladino, the board of trustees received and discussed the report’s recommendations but reached no conclusions. Among the concerns raised was the impact on the elderly of eliminating backyard pickups. Today, village workers routinely haul garbage cans filled with, say, 25 pounds or more of waste from back doors to a curbside truck. Shifting that burden to homeowners, trustees worried, could present a substantial challenge to some.

Malcolm Pirnie also saw a challenge in creating an all-commercial garbage route, which it called “feasible” but said that, “this separation will be difficult to accomplish due to residential customers located in the same building as the commercial customers.”

The report suggested an alternative consolidation in which four routes collected exclusively from residences and a mixed route that picked up commercial customers and residents on the same block or in the same buildings.

“Based on our analyses,” the consultants said, “it was further determined that the village could decrease the total number of routes to four, if the village altered some collection practices such as switching to front yard pickup and possibly switching to once per week pickup.”

Two or three jobs could be eliminated through route consolidation, the report estimates, saving $180,000 to $270,000 a year. “This can be accomplished through staff reallocation, natural attrition or . . . reduction in part-time staffing.”

The report based its anticipated savings on an average annual cost in salaries and benefits of $90,000 per worker. Further savings would be realized by needing fewer trucks and less fuel, the report said.

The consultants urged the village to make a trial run of the consolidated routes to be certain service, “remains consistent or better.”   

In addition to reconfiguring routes, the report discusses volume limits for both residential and commercial customers. While not identifying a specific cap, the consultants cited 96-gallon limits imposed by other municipalities as an example of how such a system would work. Commercial pickups above the set limit could be arranged on a fee basis.

Other recommendations that Malcolm Pirnie suggested the village consider:

PRIVATIZING garbage pickups in the downtown commercial area.

PUTTING global-positioning systems in garbage trucks to analyze route efficiency.

LOGGING IN, addressing and preserving reports of resident complaints and missed pickups.

One recommended pilot program would replace the twice-weekly pickups with one. “Given the total waste the village generates,” the report reads, “this will require the trucks to possibly have two loads per day per truck but would not require overtime since it would fit within the complete workday allowed by the contract between the village and the union.”

SRT May 18, 2011 at 12:26 PM
Most of the ideas mentioned above have been on the discussed for years, the problem has always been a bi-partisan lack of political will to make the changes. Now that we have spent a lot of taxpayer dollars on consultants to tell the Village the obvious it will be interesting to see if anything happens with this before the election or at all.
MDD May 19, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Maybe looking into expanding the recyclables items would realize a decrease in trash volume?
Chief Siwanoy May 20, 2011 at 01:08 PM
Back yard pick-up and once a week pick -up will 'inspire' more recycling AND save money. The Village should implement that system with its next budget and the Board of Trustees should announce its position before the 2nd Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Let's find out who is serious about saving money. "LOGGING IN, addressing and preserving reports of resident complaints and missed pickups" is a no brainer. Its amazing this isn't being done now. The other proposals also seem sensible. Finally, why wasn't a "pay to throw" system for all residential customers as well as privatization of commericial collection also considered? You want more recycling? That will get you more recycling.
Chief Siwanoy May 20, 2011 at 01:10 PM
Sorry, I meant to say "curb side pick-up" not "back yard pick-up".

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