Bernards Township officials agreed on Tuesday night to continued extended hours, with extra days open, at the recycling center at the Pill Hill dump, where residents can bring their storm debris and damaged trees. But members of the Township Committee also confirmed there will be no curbside pickup of trees or brush destroyed by Sandy on private property.
The Township Committee, on Township Administrator Bruce McArthur's suggestion, will continue an extended schedule of keeping the Pill Hill Road facility open on Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at least until January.
The township can re-evaluate at that time whether to continue the longer hours, he said.
That will allow residents, or contractors hired by residents, to keep bringing in vegetative waste generated by Sandy on Oct. 29 for two months since the storm hit this area, he said. The officials said last month.
The Pill Hill Recycling Center normally is only open on weekeds.
Deputy Mayor Carolyn Gaziano, in agreement with other members of the township committee, said the facility should remain open for longer hours at least until after the holidays.
No curbside pickups for Bernards Township residents, township already spent $600K on Sandy pickup
Upon questioning from two tree removal contractors working in the area, the Township Committee reaffirmed that the township will not pay for curbside pickup of storm debris created on private property.
The township already has spent an estimated $600,000 cleaning up fallen trees and storm debris on roads and property that is the township's reponsibility, McArthur said last night and previously. The township can apply for reimbursement for a part of that amount through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
During the public portion of the meeting Bill Owens of Boston-based Tree Removal Service said that in performing jobs, it has been hard to get to the dump during the limited hours that it's open. He said residents have been wondering if there was going to be curbside collection of damaged trees and brush cut down by tree removal contractors.
The municipality made that clear in the first few days following the storm, said Township Committeeman John Carpenter.
Township Mayor Mary Pavlini later said the townwide removal of all the trees and vegetative waste caused by Sandy on private property would cost taxpayers "millions" of dollars.
Outside of the meeting, Owens and Andrew Bachman, of Trout Brook Landscaping from Connecticut, said that the township's arrangement has made it difficult for contractors to rid themselves of damaged trees taken from township properties.
Bachman said that contractors didn't realize at first that the facility was no longer open for seven days, and found themselves stuck with the debris. He said that in order to gain entry, the contractors must bring a copy of the resident's license to Pill Hill. "We would like them to provide more help for the residents," he said.
Owens said that contractors can't drive far around area roads with trucks filled with logs.
Bachman said that he and other contractors have begun avoiding Bernards Township because of the arrangement for dumping storm debris. He said those contractors are instead seeking out customers in neighboring towns, where curbside pickups are anticipated.
McArthur said during the meeting that some contractors also have been giving township residents discounts because the dumping facility at Pill Hill is nearby, rather than the contractor having to haul away the material.