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Meyersdale Borough offers more money to garbage hauler

February 13, 2019

Garbage rates in Meyersdale Borough crept closer to an increase Tuesday.

During a borough council meeting, the board voted 4-3 to make an offer to the town garbage collector, Harbaugh Trucking of Rockwood, to raise the rate by $1.50 a month per customer.

The move comes after Harbaugh requested the borough increase its monthly rate by $2,330.86 to help pay for increased tipping fees at the Mostoller Landfill in Somerset Township.

In January the board offered to give the company an additional $600 a month. Harbaugh countered at $2,100.

The rate increase proposed Tuesday night would bring in an additional $1,434 toward $1,500 the borough would pay. The difference would be covered by the garbage fund.

Council members Jeff Irwin, Mardi Vincent and Terry Baker voted against the proposal. All three said they are concerned that it is too much of an increase for residents.

Irwin, the council president, said that $900 was the most he was willing to offer.

“I just thought it was too much of an increase,” he said. “I just felt $900 was as much as I was willing to go.”

Vincent pointed to the town’s demographics.

“I would point out that this is a poor town,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of extra money.”

The increase would mean an additional $4.50 for residents and businesses quarterly, bringing those rates to $43.50 and $49.50, respectively.

Borough solicitor Marc Valentine said that Harbaugh could take the deal, counter again or take the borough to court, alleging unfair treatment. Valentine said the borough could countersue.

It was originally discussed that the $1,500 offer would be a final one, but Irwin said the council softened on that stance after deliberating.

The request for the additional funds came after tipping fees were raised from $31.70 per ton of waste to $38.50, effective Oct. 1.

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

The current garbage contract expires Oct. 31, 2020. It includes an “undue hardship” provision that allows Harbaugh to ask for a price adjustment based on higher tipping fees or diesel fuel prices. If the offer is accepted, it will not go into effect until April.

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