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7/17/2015 - Hamilton Turns to Shared Services for Ecological Facility

 

Hamilton Turns to Shared Services for Ecological Facility 

Does sharing translate into savings and better service? 

In Hamilton Township, Mayor Kelly Yaede is working to make sure it will when it comes to the community’s Ecological Facility.

With shared service agreements already lined up with Robbinsville, West Windsor and Lawrence Townships, Hamilton officials will be able to operate the town’s Ecological Facility with Public Works Department personnel at a greater savings to the community’s taxpayers than what recent public bidding efforts yielded.

Additionally, the Township is continuing to negotiate with other towns and governmental entities to expand the scope of the shared services plan, which Hamilton believes will be a “win-win” for all involved. 

“Sharing services is nothing new for our community; but I believe this shared services plan for our Ecological Facility will benefit the taxpayers of Hamilton Township, as well as the taxpayers of every other participating community,” says Mayor Kelly Yaede. “Additionally, I am confident that the level of services provided to Hamilton residents will be enhanced under this initiative.”    

On June 30th, Hamilton’s 6-year agreement with Britton Industries, a private company that previously won the public bid to operate the Ecological Facility, lapsed.  During the prior agreement, Hamilton received $95,000 annually from Britton for the company’s right to operate the facility.  In turn, the Township used the revenue to directly offset property taxes and save on other costs that would otherwise be borne by taxpayers. 

However, during the public bidding process for a new contract, Britton - the only responding bidder – proposed charging Hamilton Township $150,000 annual.  The higher price-tag, along with a lengthy list of documented issues of Britton failing to provide mulch to residents in accordance to their agreement with the Township, as well as a dozen documented violations against Britton by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, was enough for Hamilton officials to look for a better alternative for taxpayers.

“My job is to protect our taxpayers and to ensure that they receive a high level of service at our Ecological Facility.  Spending $150,000 of taxpayers’ dollars for substandard service was not an option.  Instead, we are working cooperatively and collaboratively with other towns in a plan that will benefit all of our residents,” explains Yaede.   

As the Township resumes the day-to-day operations of the Ecological Facility, Hamilton residents will continue to have access to the facility.  Township officials plan to return the offering of free mulch to residents as soon as possible. 

Through the shared services agreement, leaves and brush collected by partnering towns will be delivered to  Hamilton’s facility by government vehicles (as opposed to residents from the partnering communities having to travel to the Hamilton facility).  In turn, brush and wood chips and leaves from the participating towns will be turned into mulch and wood chips and transported by government vehicles back to their respective communities – for either public use or to supply to their citizens.  The process will also help to avoid greater traffic congestion at the Ecological Facility.

Additionally, Hamilton’s Department of Public Works is already working on plans to reconfigure the residential drop off areas at the facility to improve traffic flow and make residential access more convenient.  Officials also intend to improve the aesthetical appearance of the site by cleaning up present materials, such as reducing the extensive concrete piles that Britton Industries exacerbated while managing the facility.

“By sharing services, achieving cost savings and enhancing services for our residents, we are committed to providing Hamiltonians with the type of Ecological Facility that they desire to frequently use and enjoy,” explains Yaede.