Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cherry Hill Aims To Slash Trash Costs

Cherry Hill has joined forces with Gloucester Township, Voorhees and Merchantville with the hope of slashing the cost of trash disposal, Mayor Bernie Platt announced Thursday.

It’s the Township’s latest effort to streamline municipal services while saving significant taxpayer money.

The four towns – in partnership with the Cherry Hill Fire Department and Board of Education – are going out to the marketplace in the coming weeks in search of a new contract for trash-disposal services.

“Together, our towns account for nearly one-third of Camden County’s total population and total single-family homes,” Mayor Bernie Platt said. “Our towns span nearly 60 square miles; we serve almost 171,000 residents, and 61,400 households. That’s a lot of business – and we’re here to send a message: If you want that business, you’d better bring down our costs.”

Under the current pricing structure, Cherry Hill pays about $1.3 million in incinerator fees each year to dispose of approximately 23,000 tons of solid waste. Platt estimated that this deal could reduce that dollar amount by up to $250,000.

Officials said they hope to begin realizing that savings this summer.

Platt noted that this partnership is the largest of its kind undertaken in South Jersey – and is among the largest in the state. In terms of the number of households served, it trumps even a similar partnership announced late last year involving the Township’s trash-collection contract. In that case, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township and Merchantville, saw a combined cost-reduction of nearly $3 million; some $2 million in savings went to Cherry Hill alone.

Platt cited this new partnership as just the latest example of Cherry Hill working with other government agencies to share services and streamline costs. The Township has other existing shared service agreements with Merchantville, Haddonfield, Gloucester Township, the Cherry Hill Schools and Fire Department, and Camden County.

“It’s been said many times: Government simply cannot continue operating under the old way of doing business,” Platt said. “We need to work together and share our resources to cut our operational costs.”

He added: “In that regard, I don’t believe in just ‘talking the talk.’ As a municipality, we need to also ‘walk that walk’ – and I think Cherry Hill and our partners have continually set the bar high in that regard.”

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