The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 29, 2010

City eliminates spring cleanup fee

JOHNSTOWN — Starting next year, Johnstown residents no longer will have to shell out an extra $40 just to participate in spring cleanup.

Officials have reached agreement on a $2.9 million contract extension with Gallucci Sanitation Inc., the city’s trash hauler.

That means residents’ annual $166 refuse-collection fee is guaranteed to not rise through 2012. And, as a bonus, an additional spring-cleanup fee first implemented in 2004 will disappear in 2011.

“(Gallucci administrators) feel that they can provide the service without any additional expense to the city or residents,” said Carlos Gunby, Johnstown’s finance director.

The cleanup fee was the topic of much debate six years ago, when officials considered dropping the service altogether due to rising trash-hauling costs passed on by the city’s previous contractor.

The eventual compromise was to institute the extra fee, which since has risen to $40.

Residents who want spring cleanup service must visit City Hall to purchase a sticker to participate.

That arrangement remains in effect for this year’s cleanup, scheduled for the week of May 17.

But there will be no such fee in 2011 and 2012, the years covered by Gallucci’s new contract extension. There also is an option for a third year that may have to be negotiated, Gunby said.

He noted, however, that residents still will have to make a trip to City Hall even after the $40 fee goes away. That’s because they will need to register for spring cleanup and show that their regular trash payments are not delinquent.

“We need to have proof that your garbage is being paid,” Gunby said.

Since officials first switched to Gallucci’s services as of Jan. 1, 2009, the heated debates that once accompanied discussion of garbage contracts have all but disappeared.

Gunby praised Gallucci for keeping rates stable.

“It’s a tremendous plus for the city,” he said. “Right now, most sanitation companies are incurring higher costs and they are passing that cost along.”


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