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Mendham Boro Could Can Recycling Contract

Looking to save money, officials are looking for an escape clause from their MCMUA contract.

Just a week after their counterparts in Mendham Township criticized the MCMUA for inefficiencies in their operation, the Mendham Borough Mayor and Council discussed Monday moving their recycling service somewhere else.

“I was concerned after reading there is an increase in our recycling costs and I heard from other mayors that we should really take a look at this,” said Mayor Neil Henry. “I talked to Ellen and there is an out clause.”

Unfortunately, that out clause couldn’t be used right away. At the end of their current contract, the Borough needed to re-up with the MCMUA or run the risk of having no recycling coverage in 2013.

“What I think we have to do is vote on this so we have recycling pickup for 2013,” Henry said. “But given the increase and I am hearing there other viable options out there to save money.”

For his part, Department of Public Works Superintendent and Recycling Coordinator Ken O’Brien was behind a change.

I talked about it early on in the year. If we are to do this by ourselves, I don’t think we would get a lot of vendors and I don’t think we would get it at a good price. I am not a fan of the county program. We would need our neighbors to the west of us and around us to be in,” O’Brien said. “We would need our neighbors to come in and get together and bid and pay per household. You know how hard it is to get four municipalities on the same page. But I think it would be worth it.”

Finding that consensus, Henry said might be easier said than done.

“We have five communities that can’t get together to fund a regional school issue,”Henry said. “So it might be difficult.”

According to Administrator Ellen Sandman, the borough had time to explore options if they used their escape clause.

“We would have to within a year and a half of the new contract we could leave with six months notice,” Sandman said. “ Ken did a tremendous amount of research. That being said it will take some time to establish a relationship with someone else. We feel comfortable that it is going to take time to get this done.”

The council approved a new contract with the MCMUA, but will continue to explore ways out.

“There are a lot of options out there,” Henry said. “We just have to put our feet to the fire and follow through.”

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