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Lavallette Ponders Private Commercial Garbage Collection During the Summer

Lavallette's downtown business district. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Lavallette’s downtown business district. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Faced with overflowing dumpsters and some businesses that require trash pickups five times per week during the busy summer tourism season, Lavallette officials this week proposed an ordinance that would require certain businesses to pay for private trash hauling during the high season. Later during the same meeting, however, the introduction of the ordinance was rescinded.

Lavallette recently took possession of two new garbage trucks that will be outfitted soon and replace older trucks that were notoriously unreliable and led to complaints from residents about “garbage water” leaking onto streets. While the trucks were, indeed, old, they were also well-used. Perhaps a victim of its own success, Lavallette’s business community is requiring more garbage collections than ever before, and the trend of al fresco dining has expanded food establishments’ footprints to the extent that it has become difficult, at times, for the borough’s Public Works Department to keep up with the demand for collections.

A copy of the ordinance indicates it would have required commercial establishments to contract with a private hauler for trash collection May 1 through Sept. 30 each year. The remainder of the year, the borough would revert back to municipal pickups for businesses.

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Mayor Walter LaCicero said the ordinance was introduced after the shear amount of pickups had become “excessive and prohibitive,” with the borough facing issues ranging from manpower, to the cost of fuel, to workers’ compensation claims arising from the physically-intensive job of sanitation collections.

Debate over the issue arose over several issues brought up by both the business community and residents. In conversations with business owners and the Lavallette Business Association, most business owners favored the status quo, said Councilman David Finter.

Lavallette’s policy has long been to collect commercial refuse twice per week during the summer, as well as any excess. Some businesses – primarily restaurants – have begun to require pickups five days per week. Most business owners, he said, would prefer to maintain the current schedule and, if required, pay the town an extra fee to compensate for the additional workload, plus wear and tear on the trucks. Residents, likewise, questioned the plan, wondering if the borough would see a constant flow of garbage haulers streaming through town since businesses would inevitably contract with different providers that perform pickups on different days and times.

Additionally, the issue of fairness was brought up by some members of the community, since some businesses produce little to no trash, while others produce large amounts.

The ordinance had been intended to be in place in time for May 1 of this year, however after its introduction, the concerns raised by business leaders and members of the public led the governing body to rescind its own introduction from earlier in the meeting. A hearing had been planned for the March 18 council meeting, however that has been canceled. It is unknown currently whether a revised plan will be ready for introduction at the next meeting or if another summer may go by with waste woes continuing.

Officials said they would continue their discussions with the Lavallette Business Association on the matter.

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