Township officials are still interested in joining other South Jersey towns in a bargaining unit striving to reduce the cost of trash-disposal services.
They're just going to have to wait a little longer thanks to a change in ownership at the disposal facility.
Gloucester Township could not join eight other towns that last month entered a 14-month cooperative pricing agreement with a Camden trash incinerator because it is under contract with Mount Laurel-based Republic Services through Dec. 31, 2012, according to township Business Administrator Tom Cardis.
The contract's "language is specific that the only way we could shift and go to the incinerator ... is if Pollution Control (Financing) Authority offers a lower price. That facility is now operated by Foster Wheeler. That's a private company," Cardis said.
Joining the eight other Camden County towns on the $52.50 per ton deal with Foster Wheeler—the Switzerland-based corporation that owns and operates the South Camden incinerator that was owned by Camden County Pollution Control Financing Authority until this summer—would have put the township at risk of legal action by Republic Services.
The eight towns—Cherry Hill, Collingswood, Gibbsboro, Haddon Township, Merchantville, Somerdale, Voorhees and Winslow—will save a total of about $1 millon over the 14-month deal, the Courier-Post reported on Sept. 26.
Mayor David Mayer had asked Council to allow Gloucester Township officials to join the negotiations for trash disposal in March.
The township's trash is hauled to a dump in Pennsylvania. Every other Camden County town sees its trash taken to the incinerator in Camden, according to Mayer.
Cardis indicated following Wednesday night's Council meeting that it is anticipated the county will negotiate a trash-disposal deal for its municipalities with Foster Wheeler to begin January 2013. The township would join other towns in seeking a joint contract if that does not occur.
Despite the existing contract with Republic Services barring it from joining the trash-disposal alliance, the township has taken a step to save money on trash. It entered into a shared-services agreement with Cherry Hill and Merchantville last December for trash collection through Republic Services.
Officials say that trash-collection deal will save the township nearly $650,000 over the five-year deal as compared to the prior contract.