AP NEWS

Meyersdale officials refuse trash hauler’s timing on rate hike

April 10, 2019

Trash talks are ongoing in Meyersdale, with yet another counteroffer to the borough’s garbage hauler.

During a borough council meeting Tuesday night, solicitor Marc Valentine, of Meyersdale, said that Harbaugh Trucking, of Rockwood, has asked the borough to pay an additional $1,500 a month.

The borough had offered that amount at a February meeting. Harbaugh, however, wanted the rate to be retroactive to Jan. 1, council President Jeff Irwin said.

Irwin said that July 1 would be a better date to start. The rest of the council members present agreed, and they unanimously voted to offer the deal to Harbaugh with the July date.

Council members Bill McKenzie and Brooke Folk were not present for the vote.

“His attorney, they did not let us know by the last meeting,” Irwin said of the February offer. “It would be an impediment for us to raise the rates until July.”

The increase would raise the quarterly garbage bill by $1.50, bringing the residential rate to $43.50 and business rate to $49.50.

This is the third offer the borough has made since Harbaugh asked for the rate to be increased by $2,330.86 a month in response to increased tipping fees at the Mostoller Landfill in Somerset Township.

“As far as I’m concerned, we were waiting at the March meeting to hear back from Mr. Harbaugh,” Irwin said. “We heard nothing. We were ready to go. They’re the ones that missed the deadline.”

Valentine said that the borough could not just spring an increase from the start of the year on its customers.

“It’s very important to note that we can’t hide that rate,” he said. “(Borough secretary) Patty (Ackerman) has to be able to advertise what the new rate is before that rate comes into effect.”

Mayor Mike Brant said he feels the borough has been “more than fair” in negotiations.

A representative from Harbaugh could not be reached for comment after Tuesday’s meeting.

The council also unanimously voted to approve a noise ordinance for advertisement.

Valentine said the ordinance covers noise levels from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. He said examples of the sounds covered include combustion engines, home improvement, contractors, radios, music, live bands and yelling.

It is a complaint-driven system, he said, and enforced by police. Offenders can be fined $75 a day.

He said that to be in violation, sound has to leave a property line or a building. The next step, he said, is to advertise the ordinance for 30 days and send it to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for approval. The board has jurisdiction over alcohol vendors in the borough.

Councilman Dan Parisi encouraged residents to read the ordinance during the 30-day period.

“Mainly because I think there are lots of people who complain about noise,” he said. “(For people who offend), maybe give them a fair shot to change the muffler on their car.”

The ordinance can be examined at the borough office along Main Street.

The council also unanimously voted to offer Mark Craig, of Berlin, a part-time job as a police officer for $17.90 an hour. That brings the force to six part-time cops.