There’s good news and bad news in the township’s Public Works department: recycling is up, but so is the operating budget for 2014 as the amount of money allocated for salaries has risen.
Since the introduction of automated “robocans” for recycling pickup, participation in the township’s recycling program is up 12 percent, said Glenn Campbell, Public Works Director.
The increase in recycling has led to larger grants for the township, including a state tonnage grant that rose from $128,000 to $178,000, plus another $107,492 from the county and $90,816 from metal pickups.
But costs have also risen in the agency as the township council has indicated it is looking toward ways of becoming more efficient.
The overall budget for the department rose from $7,515,792 expended in 2013 to $8,168,205 budgeted in 2014. Salaries are up a total of $647,306, specifically, $537,848 in solid waste collection salaries, $35,588 in building and grounds salaries and $73,870 in vehicle maintenance salaries.
But township officials are exploring ways to save money overall, including restoring a road crew that could save money over outside contractors on road repairs and snow plowing.
Over the past winter, the township spent $1,090,000 on snow removal, about $700,000 of which was paid to outside contractors, said Council President Susan Lydecker.
Campbell said a township truck driver would likely be paid about $30 per hour for snow removal, while an outside contractor is generally paid about $190 per hour.
The costs the council will be tasked with analyzing are those of equipment. Campbell said a tandem truck ranges between $170,000 and $180,000 while a dump truck costs about $120,000.
Councilman James Fozman said adding more trucks to the township’s fleet could ultimate save taxpayers’ money.
“Basically, we can invest in ourselves and it can cut down the cost,” Fozman said.