Quite the opposite. To a man, Supervisors and Manager Jay Finnigan agree with Callahan in principle. So do Upper Nazareth Supervisors, who decided last month to hire a single hauler for trash removal.
"It's a no-brainer," states Township Manager Jay Finnigan, who has often been mentioned as the only Republican who could compete in a Northampton County Executive race against Callahan. "The economics are just overwhelming," adds Supervisor Steve Salvesen, who earlier that evening took a shot at President Obama. Under a single hauler, he is paying $130 per month less than he did thirty-four years ago, when he first moved into the Township.
Supervisor Glenn Walbert, who has been following the Bethlehem debate with interest, heard the same pros and cons when a single hauler was proposed in Hanover six years ago. He remembers one elderly lady who claimed she left a quarter under her garbage can. But he and Salvesen also remember that many residents had to go through a half dozen haulers before finding one who would take what they wanted.
In January, Supervisors awarded a new five-year single hauler contract that actually reduces the monthly fee for most residents from $395 to just $245, and even lower if paid early. But Finnigan added that administrative costs for mailing and collecting bills are only between $1,800 and $3,800.
This Hanover attitude proves the maxim that there's no Democratic or Republican way to fix a pothole. Or pick up trash. Supervisors even had some good suggestions for two very legitimate concerns expressed by those who would like to keep the current system of 19 independent haulers.
First concern. What about the senior citizen on a fixed income who might have just one bag a week? Should she pay the same as everyone else? - No, answered Walbert. He pointed out that in Whitehall Township, fees are discounted or outright waived for seniors who qualify for certain state benefits.
DCED Director Joe Kelly, in Bethlehem, later said that possibility is being considered.
Second concern. Won't this put mom-and-pops out of business? - Not at all. They could form a collective and bid like everyone else.
Bethlehem's City Council considered Callahan's single-hauler proposal last night, but I was unable to get into the room and unable to hear in the hallway. Looks like Bob Donchez and Eric Evans are leaning against a single hauler. Dave DiGiacinto thinks cost could skyrocket, even though Hanover's experience is the reverse.
Oh yeah, Public Works Director Vince Milite had some advice that Bethlehem could use, too. He insists rock salt is much better than salt brine during Winter storms. Bethlehem uses salt brine.