Bethlehem is transitioning from dual-stream pickup for roadside recycling to single-stream for 2023 and 2024.
On Tuesday night, the city council unanimously approved a $3,523,212, two-year contract with the same hauler that currently recycles — Republic Services of NJ LLC. .
The council also introduced a bill to raise the recycling fee from $70 to $90 per home in a final ballot on December 6. This fee is paid quarterly as part of the city’s water/sewer/stormwater bill.
Bethlehem had a contract with Republic Services for roadside recycling collection from 2019 to 2022, but the company has decided not to renew the contract next year. That led to a new round of bidding, with Republic Services being the lowest bidder for the all-new contract, according to Laura Collins, the city’s director of community and economic development.
The difference with the new single stream contract is that residents do not have to separate glass, plastic, aluminum, steel, etc. from cardboard, office paper, magazines, newspapers, etc. Bethlehem’s dual stream recycling, which runs until the end of the year, generally brings more revenue to the city when recyclables are sold, but single stream is more convenient for users, Collins said.
“No pizza boxes yet,” she said Tuesday night in response to a question from City Council Speaker Michael Colon.
A simpler system for residents is projected to increase recycling, Collins said. Under the global market, the city has seen the value of recyclables fall even before it moved to single-stream collection on the streets.
City Councilman Paige Van Wert called for assurances that recyclables were in fact recycled, and Halbroster conducted spot checks with Cougles Recycling Inc. six to eight times a year. I said yes.
The city will send out flyers about the changes to residents and include them in newsletters. Either the blue or green bins that residents currently use can be used for recycling, and there are no plans to change the collection schedule.
The new contract, approved by Congressional resolution, will cost the city $1,718,640 in 2023 and $1,804,572 in 2024. It also includes an additional five-year option under mutual agreement between City and Republic Services, totaling $10,469,971 assuming maximum price increases. 5% per annum.
The City Council also introduced Mayor J. William Reynolds’ proposed 2023 General Fund budget of $12,359,287 and the proposed 2023 property tax rate, which is unchanged from 2022. Invoiced for $957 based on a proposed tax rate of 19.14 mils, while the average Lehigh County assessment of approximately $158,000 would be invoiced for $996 based on a proposed tax rate of 6.05 mils .
After hearings on November 22 at 6:00 pm (public works and water and sewerage), November 29 (General Fund revenues and expenditures), and November 30, the Council will hold hearings on December 20 at 6:00 pm. We will vote on approving the 2023 spending plan at 7:00. (firefighting, police, community, economic development). The meeting will be held at City Hall at 10 E. Church St.
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