MASSENA - Something doesnt sound right about the Massena Central School Districts five-year garbage disposal agreement with the village, according to incoming board of education member Patrick Serguson.
The Department of Public Works will begin picking up the districts garbage and recyclables July 1. On Tuesday night, the villages Board of Trustees unanimously approved the agreement, and on Thursday night the board of education followed suit with a 6-1 vote, with William Sommerfield dissenting. Board President Leonard Matthews was not in attendance at Thursday nights meeting and board member John Boyce left the meeting prior to the vote.
The district currently has a $33,000-a-year contract with Casella Resource Solutions, Director of Operations William L. Seguin previously said. The new contract with the village will cost $43,500 a year for five years, with the district buying $20,000 worth of dumpsters.
The agreement would save the district tens of thousands of dollars over five years than Casellas more expensive offer, Mr. Seguin said at Tuesday nights meeting.
Mr. Serguson, who will be sworn in next month, urged board members to table the garbage agreement until they could review the costs further. He had checked with Casella officials, who told him the company had offered the school district a $47,900 per-year contract. When stretching that over five years, the village option would only save a couple thousand dollars because of the districts purchase of dumpsters, he said.
He wondered what would happen to the $20,000 worth of dumpsters if the village opted out of the agreement after one-year, which the contract allows for.
I just dont see it being a cost savings, he said. If we get stuck with it, what are we going to do with it?
For this to be this close, why not stay with someone whos doing it right? he asked, referring to Casella.
The board approved the garbage agreement with little discussion in open session. Before the approval, Mr. Seguin told board members the savings by going with the village will be $26,500 over five years. Casellas first year would cost $47,900, but would jump to $51,400 in the second year and would stay at least that high subsequently.
He reviewed the numbers again after his presentation and realized the savings was actually $16,000, $10,500 less than he had just told board members.
It was an honest mistake. It really was, he said. Its still a savings of $16,000.
Mr. Seguin said the village deal was worth it because of the savings. He said the districts custodians had weighed all of the garbage over the last six months to ensure the $43,500 estimate was accurate.
I strongly believe we can do it for $43,500, he said.
State education law indicates boards of education should avoid multi-year service contracts, with the exception of transportation and cafeteria service. Trash removal should only be a one year contract. Mr. Seguin said the districts five-year agreement with the village is really only one year because the village has the ability to opt out at that point.
Tuesday nights village board discussion about the garbage agreement occurred in open session, but any board of education discussion about it Thursday night may have been behind closed doors. Board member Gregory C. Fregoe gave a contract with agencies outside the district as one reason for the executive session.
Mr. Fregoe said he called for an executive session because the garbage agreement was a contractual issue with the board, and deferred further comment to Superintendent Roger B. Clough II. He said he did not know why the village had a discussion in open session about the garbage agreement, but the school district did not.