June 26, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Republic, Brunswick giving refund for week trash pickup strike

BRUNSWICK — Most city residents who pay Republic Services for trash collection will see a refund of $4.49 on their July bill.

City Council members agreed to pay residents the amount to compensate them for missed pickup days resulting from last month’s strike.

Republic Services agreed to reimburse the city $39,151 for the missed days. But the reimbursement doesn’t cover an entire week of collection — only the strike days.

The city agreed to kick in an additional $10,333 to give the residents a full refund for the week.

Without the city’s $10,000 contribution, residents only would receive a refund of $3.55.

“We’re taking $10,000 and we’re giving it back to our residents, because they deserve it, it wasn’t their fault,” Councilman Mike Abella, 1st Ward, said. “They paid for services that weren’t rendered.”

But Councilman Vince Carl, 2nd Ward, said the city fiscally was irresponsible by coming up with the extra money.

“We make no money on providing this contract,” Carl said. “We’re going to pay $10,000 because the person who provides the service was unable to do it?

“Next time the lights go out are we going to pay for that, too?”

Council President Pat Hanek, an at-large member, and At-large Councilman Ron Falconi agreed with Carl.

“It seems to me like we’re subsidizing Republic’s problem,” Falconi said.

But Abella was joined by the majority of Council with the support of members At-large Brian Ousley, Dave Coleman, 3rd Ward, and Anthony Capretta, 4th Ward.

“We have to accept responsibility for this,” Capretta said.

Finance Director Todd Fischer said the additional $10,000 would come from the city’s refuse fund. He said waste service payments contribute to the fund and, in 2006, the city moved $90,000 from its general fund to help keep the refuse fund solvent.

Fischer said the refuse fund needs the extra money to keep cash at a positive balance. While city residents are billed quarterly, the city pays Republic Services on a monthly basis.

He said the additional $10,000 shouldn’t have a major impact on keeping the fund in the black.

“We can’t use the money for anything other than trash collection,” he said.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.