PRIOR HAPPENINGS : Before 5-08
To see the current trash updates
6-13-07 Asked for a call back on why no details of the trash
program were yet on the township website - only a picture of the
three containers and the basics about when to put out your trash
is there - nothing about how to choose containers, which would
be more expensive, what about trash that did not fit in the
container, when the new system was slated to go into the
remaining areas, etc. Ed Micciolo called me back &
apparently no one is experiencing the new system as was
originally discussed. Instead, the new cans and trucks are
being put into service but under the old system's guidelines in
that you may still throw out any amount of trash that you choose
at no extra charge. When I asked when that would
change I was told that the Commissioners would review the
process and then would decide IF there would be a change - ie:
as I understand it now, there is no guarantee that we will be
charged for trash that does not fit in the containers - or that
those who throw out more will be charged more ( which if
you ask me is a good thing because some days I throw out lots
and some days I throw out hardly anything ...... figuring
out what size can to pay for is not something that would be easy
to do - and making special arrangements for getting "blue bags"
for the over-flow or arranging for special pick up on clean out
days seems to be a step backward from the system we
currently have. Cans with lids and encouraging more
recycling seems like a good thing. ) The Commissioners
will be reviewing this and then the implementation of the
changes might not take place for another year if I understood
Mr. Micciolo correctly. So, with all high hopes, we'll
check the website next week to see when we might expect the new
system in our neighborhood - and I'll encourage you again if you
have any input or insight for me to
let me know.
3-15-07 I sat down with Mr Micciolo --- and Mr Vile and Eileen
........ I do have some figures ----at last.
And yes I would have liked to have them a year ago before I had
to go hopping up and down on one foot, requesting them at Public
Meetings and writing to the newspaper.
When I get a chance I will let you know what questions they leave me with
- I haven't had a chance to digest them yet . I understood
today from another resident that they also have a study - which
I would ASSUME would have included figures.... . I'm not
sure why that has not been mentioned - I'll let you know when I
get a chance to go over these things. If you have any input on
the trash system - whether you like it or not ---
let me know.
2-28-07 I asked Ed Micciolo Director of Public Works
again for the Trash figures . He said last time & this
that I am required to call him and sit down to discuss this. I
actually just would like to have the figures - but that is not
going to happen - so I will call.
Here are my main questions as of this date :
After a year of trying to get the figures ( and receiving
only the Power Point figures that added up to nothing ) Why can
we not get the info posted on the website so people can begin to
understand the plan? The township's stubborn refusal is really
What the Township has called a pilot program is no pilot
program at all if the residents who are in it have not yet been
restriced in what they can throw out - and they were supposedly
taking "polls" that indicated how pleased everyone was with the
new system. A TRUE pilot program should be instituted so we can
hear some TRUE feedback . I have heard both good and bad myself.
Why can we not get the figures that he used to tell people what
the new system would save them ? There were grants and other
special funding involved in the adoption of this new program.
It is possible, for instance, that this will end up costing a
lot more unless we can continue to get the grants and special
funding that are being relied on now . We just want to see the
figures to understand this.
We all agree more recycling is desirable. But is it possible
that if a recyclying "awareness' program were instituted ( at
substantially less cost) we might also get a surge in the
amounts being recycled, as is being claimed with the new system.
And requiring lids on cans might greatly reduce the water
Presonally, I recycle pretty close to the max - but one week
I may have 4 cans of trash - another week I may have a
half a can of trash - my use is definitely not the same week
after week - it seems hard to imagine that somehow this would be
able to acount for my actual use - and the inconvenience of
dealing with excesses would be unpleasant to say the least.
Just my thoughts - I agree things will likely be
neater with less trash blowing down the street - but that's rare
around here that we get much of it going down the street. Might
be different in other parts of the township.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE
QUESTIONS WE ASKED TO HAVE ANSWERED BY THE TOWNSHIP - ESPECIALLY WITH
REGARD TO FINANCES
1-23- 07 The budget was presented in the December meeting,
and the trash area reflected a reduction of $1 in your
trash fee. HOWEVER, if every single resident will be paying
separately for the blue bags and for any extra ( like
clean out days ) in this system, they may end up paying
substantially more. We are having trouble getting information on
this. So while one's trash can may go out only half-filled
on many days, on the days he has MORE than a can's worth, or on
a clean-up day he will be paying extra. This hardly
sounds like a winning situation for residents. In
addition, some neighbors have said that where they used to just
put the recyclable cardboard, for instance, on the
curb - they may now have to cut boxes up to make them fit into
the can. We still have to confirm this and are waiting for a
call back or an email from Mr Miccolo or Mr. Lahaza.
I hope we can get an answer and eventually get some of these
details on the township website.
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2007 11:36 AM
To: 'M. Matthew Lahaza'
Subject: Trash passed or not ?
There seems to be quite some confusion over whether the trash
program is or is not passed …… In the areas that don't yet have it,
people seem to know almost nothing. Of those that do know a little
something, no one seems to know if it's passed or still up for
discussion. Should they be trying to GET information and then
commenting or how is that to work? I DID go to the website before
asking you this - and took time to surf - but under Refuse and
Recycling there was NO link to information about the details or the
status of the program . And I have been asking for that source of
communication to be used since March. Please fill me in on the
status and tell me why we can't get info onto the website about
Sent: Sunday, January 21, 2007 9:45 AM
Subject: Trash figures please
Dear Mr. Micciolo Yes, after you dropped off the Power Point
presentation I DID ask you again for the figures that would allow me
to see how you determined that this program would save money over
the current program, which that did not. At that time you directed
me to the Budget figures and said they could be obtained at the
library. And yes, I called you yet again to say that those figures
did NOT allow me to see the financial merits of the new program
compared to the old program. At that point you suggested that all
the figures were not possible to derive and that some you had to
"pull out of the air" . I told you I still would like to see what
you used. And yes, I STILL would like them. Please let me know how I
can get them.
12-06-06 Just so you know - we never did get any
figures that could be rectified. We still would like them.
In January they are starting 2 more areas, we understand with
the new program . But still there is confusion about heavy
trash "clean-out" days, blue bags etc by residents and
. Still would like residents who are using the system to
check in with us and share your feelings about it.
5-31-06 Times Chronicle / Montgomery News -
Reprinted with permission
Talk on trash system centers on need for more discussion
By: Lisa Beisel, Staff Writer
The debate on the possible variable rate trash system continued
at the Abington Public Affairs Committee meeting Tuesday night.
Many commissioners had mixed feelings and more questions for
Public Works Director Ed Micciolo.
Micciolo reported the township just received a grant for around
$500,000 that could be used to buy three of the new trucks to be
used with the program, if it was instated.
Commissioner Dennis Zappone said there were mixed feelings in his
ward about the new program and he needed more information. "We
need to be educated more ourselves, so we can educate our
constituents," he said. Zappone recommended another workshop be
held. Commissioner Lori Schreiber suggested an independent study be
done of residents in the pilot programs. "It's not just a matter of
you or me going to a few people's doors," she said.
One question on everyone's mind was cost: would there be savings
with the program?
Commissioner Michael O'Connor said that in past presentations,
Micciolo showed costs did go down, and if no new plan was instated,
trash costs will increase up to 10 percent per year. Recycling has
gone up in the pilot areas, O'Connor reminded the commissioners, and
the increase in recycling decreases the amount the township has to
pay in trash disposal fees.
"The plan is not designed to have increased costs," he said.
Zappone suggested having a town meeting involving the whole township
to discuss the proposed plan.
"This really could be open to anyone," he said.
Micciolo pointed out he has had various meetings about the proposed
plan over the course of the pilot program. Residents of the wards
hosting the pilot programs were notified of the meetings and were
given the chance to speak, he said.
Schreiber asked Micciolo if he could make a fact sheet with pros and
cons of the proposed program.
Some questions that still remain, such as what residents can do with
excess trash, are up to the commissioners to decide, Micciolo said.
He has presented several options, such as a special amnesty pick-up
or selling special bags that could be used for overflow trash. It is
up to the commissioners to decide which to adopt and this will have
an effect on cost, he said.
Several board members thought more education was needed as to what
materials may or may not be recycled. Micciolo said he has sent out
brochures on recycling regularly, but now more residents are
starting to pay attention to them, thanks to the pilot program. He
also said extra emphasis is not being placed on recycling in the
pilot areas so he can get a true reading of how much recycling is
Commissioner John Carlin said he felt the board needed to make a
"I don't think we can keep discussing this," Carlin said.
The board will discuss the possibility of another workshop at its
full board meeting June 8.
5-31-06 Abington Citizen's Network
Spoke to Mr. Micciolo today . More figures are not available .
The ones in the power point, he suggests, are all we need.
They do not seem sufficient to cover all the costs of the
project and allow us to compare. I am directed to the
Library where I can get a copy of the current budget which is
the only place that these details are apparently laid out, if I
have understood correctly.
The Power Point
presentation was delivered yesterday after mentioning at the
Board meeting that we had been unable to get any figures.
I also spoke with Mr Miccolo today & told him that the figures
in the presentation may not be adequate to make any analysis as
they cover just some parts of what would go into a cost
analysis. He assured us we could get additional
information if we needed it once we look this over thoroughly.
We will also be trying to find out why RecycleBank has not been
considered. Recycle Bank has a program whereby residents
are directly rewarded by way of coupons to local businesses for
reaching higher levels of recycling. We will be looking
into this further.
We have been trying ------ since March 4 --- to get
the figures on the trash program so that we can see for
ourselves what the actual costs are. But we have been completely
unsuccessful in a full month's time. We asked Mr. Micciolo
in mid March to please let the facts of the program be known on
the website and on Channel 43, but he continues to reach small
groups of 50 to 150 in Town meetings instead, leaving those that
can't attend with no information at all. In probably less
than an hour, the power point could be aired on Channel 43
and it could be faxed to the web firm which I believe we have on
retainer. We cannot get an answer as to why he will not do
this. In the last conversation he has said it is a matter of
time, but since then he has held more town meetings. We
understand that he is out of town this week. We would be glad to
publish his answer here if he would share it, as soon as he
returns. Channel 43 reaches over 13,000 homes and there are
thousands and thousands more that have web access. How we
disseminate information represents our tax dollars at work.
How informed we are before major decisions are made is of huge
concern to all taxpayers. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Posted by a resident:
Folks, I continue to be cynical
and skeptical of the half thought out plan. I still think that the
real winners here are the trash truck and trash can salesmen! Any
savings will be shifted and sifted through the budget process and
disappear leaving the citizens of Abington paying more. But it will
be shown to be statistically revenue neutral - some paying more and
some paying less - except no one can find the ones paying less ...
like the sewer bills. The stated goals are, on the face, noble
- increase recycling, reduce water weight, reduce labor cost and the
result of a lower cost for all. There are two sizes of can
offered with a cost saving for the smaller can - good so far. What
about a variable sized family ... in my cse three fourths of my
family (and their trash) leave for other parts of the country for
three months at a time. THat leaves me to be a geographic bachelor
who eats out most days. During that period I put out trash (and
recycling) but once a month because I generate so little. Where is
my savings? Will I get a credit for unused but paid for capacity?
(Though my family goes to the Shore for the summer, the same applies
to those 'snow birds' who fly South for the winter.)email@example.com)
Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2006 10:51 AM
Subject: RE: To Ed Micciolo - getting ALL the figures
Dear Mr Micciolo
While I see that a good number of the questions that I and other
Abington residents are asking are addressed in your power point
presentation, I hope you will agree that having them in “independent
chunks” and having them flipped to the next slide before you
could write down the first one does not allow residents any way of
obtaining the correct information for analysis. I missed for
instance whatever you might have said about the NUMBER of new trucks
and the cost of the new trucks & the expected maintenance costs.
I missed what the grant was originally for. I thought I understood
you to say we obtained it two years ago - and I’d like to know if
there was something we intended then that will not be done if you
use this grant for these new programs.
I would like to have copies not just of what you have on the
power point presentation, but any other relevant documents and
figures that will help myself & other residents get a grasp on this.
And I would very much like you to copy me on any request that you
make to the Commissioners to put this information on the website and
on Channel 43 . I know you told me earlier that you just
haven’t found the time – but I would like to appeal to you to
consider that you just don’t have the time to go to one more meeting
with 100 to 200 people before you take steps the time to make the
information available to 15 to 20,000 which will take
substantially less time. Further, the residents you address at
any town meeting can then be referred to the web site and the TV
broadcast if they, like I , were unable to write things down fast
enough to get it the first time.
These are our tax dollars that are being used to disseminate
the information. I would like them used in the most prudent
way possible. Please let me know if the Commissioners do not give
you permission to do this. We want to see our Township facilities
and our tax dollars put to the best use.
Monday the 27th at a Roslyn meeting - Ed Micciolo said
he just got my email with the questions & would answer them
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE
QUESTIONS - they're the same as the ones in the prior email
LETTER IS TO THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS WHO IS IN CHARGE OF OUR
Sent: Friday, March
24, 2006 12:00 PM
Subject: Ed Micciolo -
Questions about trash
Here are the
questions that we need to see some answers to. The best thing to do
would be to publish them on the website and then to place a
“bulletin” on the channel 43 scroll to tell residents it is there.
It would also be great to televise your next presentation & to air
that on 43 with a placard or bulletin saying when it will air.
Then you could reach thousands of households instead of just a
hundred or so at a time. One resident even suggested that these
could be mailed to all with a place for a response on their part as
to whther they approve & they could send it back .
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE
QUESTIONS that were included in the email
3-23-06 Abington Citizen's Network - someone just sent me an
editorial that appeared March 1 in the Times Chronicle. In it,
an Abington Resident said he had had the experience of driving
behind one of these trucks and thought that collecting
from one side of the street actually took longer than a
current truck takes doing both sides. This was echoed in
Ted Taylor's article in the Times Chronicle yesterday .firstname.lastname@example.org)
3-17-06 Abington Citizens Network spoke with Ed Miccolo from the
Township refuse dept . He has been fielding questions at
Township meetings ( 7 of them so far) and just gave the
Commissioners a special presentation, but has not had time
yet to prepare info for the website ( or, we might suggest, film
one of the meetings for Channel 43.......) There will be another
presentation in April.
When asked why we needed the new program ( a lot
of us think the current program works pretty well) he said he is
trying to stabilize ever increasing trash dumping prices.
He believes the new program, where residents are confined to the
size can they have chosen, will encourage residents to recycle
more - in fact, he said he has seen a 20% reduction in trash
already in the pilot area. Another problem has been
water weight from lid-less cans left out on rainy days . Water
accounts for 7-20% of the weight of the trash at those times and
the new cans will all have lids. We spoke about the
new trucks that would be needed and Mr Miccolo said he needs to
buy new trucks anyway - the plan was to replace 6 trucks over 3
years . There is apparently also a grant for about
$570,000 in the picture.
One of the questions that has been brought up, is what
happens when you have more trash than the containers you chose
can hold? Apparently there are several different
possibilities and they have not decided which to choose yet .
For instance, they might give out "blue bags " for you to use on
days that you have overflow.
The plan is to stay with pilot program until they
decide - apparently all parts of the township will not be
participating in the pilot program. After a time the
Commissioners will be asked to decide, possibly 6-8 months from
now. I was not sure how I could participate in this
decision or direct my Commissioner with my wishes, if I did not
fully understand the details, facts and figures or had not
participated in the program. I am hoping that a result of
our conversation might be that we see the facts and figures
published on the website soon. I, for one, still have many
questions. So I guess we will stay tuned for more info.
Your comments are welcome.
Citizen's Network : There still has been no response from
the township as to where & how to get some info on this
since our March 4th email.
3-11-06 One thing I don't get is that it isn't really
pay as you throw - and I'm not sure what I'm hearing will deter
anyone or encourage them to recycle. If you fill up 1/2 a
container each week whether large or small you are paying just
as much as the person who fills it all the way up. My
trash is different everyweek which is why I loved the freedom of
this current system - I thought it worked great. If the
article in the newspaper ( which I haven't yet seen) says
that it will cost MORE - who did the double checking of the
figures for us so we know that we are saving money - and how
much are we saving?
3-8-06 Abington Citizens Network - How about a
program where someone helps those not recycling with reminders
to do so - A sort of "Rcycling Oversight" job for someone.\
3-8-06 One purpose of the trash pilot is
that you can pick a smaller trash bin and pay less rather than
have one size fits all (which most communities have). If this
program goes into effect you can get the smaller 64 gallon bin
and pay less, which is fair in my mind, or pay the flat rate for
the 96 or get a extra bin and pay more. I observed my
neighborhood and many fill the 96 to overflowing every week, but
you can see the cardboard and bottles mixed in with the trash.
Anyway, you would have the option of getting a smaller bin and
get a discount (I'm sure it will not be much of a discount). I
don't even put out our bin every week since it isn't even half
full. However, if Abington does nothing, we will ALL continue to
pay higher and higher rates for trash removal.
Citizens Network : There were quite a few meetings - I
saw one on Feb 23 in my area - I couldn't make that one - this
resident was probably also in the same "bin" - So now
here's a question----the township knows that only a
handful of residents ever attend a meeting . And OK
mailings are expensive - they have mentioned some of the details
in their standard mailings, but there is no way to ask
questions. But they have a township website which could
explain all of this and they could publish the address of the
web page regularly in the papers and also put it
prominently (on the front ) of their website. I have emailed
Jerry Vile on this resident's question on behalf of this
resident to see if maybe there IS a page on the site about this
and I just can't find it. Hopefully he'll get back to us
soon. Though I'm sure it's been published, I can't recall if
this is just a test or already voted & underway.
This is not official information -
but is another resident who has been to the meetings trying to
is the first question that is heard at a meeting, as I have
attended 4 of them. Either Ed Micciolo or Jerry Vile could
answer that question in a variety of ways depending on the
particular circumstance. For example, if it is Xmas time, the
twp may do two pickups. If it is because of a party, there are
various things the twp is looking at: let twp know there is
extra trash and they will arrange to pick it up, or the twp may
have special tags/bags for that type of thing: or they may have
to wait until the next week to toss out the extra bag or two
that don't fit in. There may also be one or two amnesty days for
special pickups due to spring/fall cleaning.
Since I am in the trash pilot program I could make some other
suggestions. However, I ended up asking for a smaller bin as it
would take our family of 4 a month to fill up the 96 gallon
trash bin. We fill maybe a third of the smaller 64 gallon
bin. If someone consistently needs more than the large 96 gallon
bin in one week they are not recycling because that is a great
deal of trash they are generating, and if they need a second 96
gallon bin, they should pay for it rather than the rest of the
twp residents who are actually recycling and decreasing the flow
of solid waste. I have already told my neighbor that if they
need to toss an extra bag in my bin they could, but they also
asked for the smaller bin as they had trouble filling it up
halfway. Upper Dublin uses this type of program and have seen
there recycling go up and solid waste go down therefore helping
keep prices lower than they would be otherwise. The thing that
gets me mad is people who do not recycle much or don't reuse or
resell or donate good items and instead put it in landfills and
then want the people who don't do this, to subsidize them.
How about backing keeping Abington's trash collection system the
way it is? The proposed new system will cost the residents more
money, and what do people do if they have one week where they
have a lot of trash, and have only one container that the new
trucks can pick up?