The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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October 31, 2013

New garbage deal: Sweet smell of success

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown residents should no longer have to hold their noses when paying their garbage bills.

That’s because under a new agreement with Advanced Disposal the yearly cost per customer will drop $30. That’s right, a bill that is getting cheaper.

Hard as it is to believe, there are some things in today’s society that are getting less expensive.

“Fortunately, right now, we’re in a very competitive sanitation and refuse market,” said Carlos Gunby, the city’s finance director. “Thankfully for us, we were able to take advantage of that.”

That’s great news for city residents who, like most of us, have been hit with enough rising costs in other areas to more than make up for the savings.

Still, Gunby and city leaders deserve credit for finding a good deal for the people of Johnstown. The new contract, which City Council unanimously approved, should see the annual cost per customer drop from $166 to $136. The cost is slated to increase over the life of the 10-year contract, but it is not expected to reach $166 again until the final year of the deal unless some factors, such as anticipated fuel expenses, change significantly.

“This should be a good deal for the consumers,” Deputy Mayor Frank Janakovic told reporter Dave Sutor.

It also should be a good deal for the city. No longer will local leaders be responsible for handling delinquent accounts.

“It takes a lot of the pressure off of the city as far as collecting and all of that,” City Councilwoman Marie Mock told Sutor. “They’re the ones putting out all of the liability as far as the delinquents; not us.”

That takes some of the pressure off the city. In return, a new policy will take some pressure off Advanced Disposal. Rather than one massive, neighborhoodwide spring cleanup day when residents could dispose of the items too large to go in the regular garbage service, the city expects to have one day every month or so. That should make it easier on Advanced Disposal and on city residents. No longer will residents have to wait months on end to throw out an old piece of furniture.

So, the new deal will be cheaper for residents and should be more accommodating. It looks to be great for the city and for Advanced Disposal. Sounds to us like everyone is coming out of this negotiation smelling like a rose.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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