Linwood’s Public Works department would lay off three workers if the Atlantic County Utilities Authority took over the city’s trash pickup.
Although the three workers have been offered interviews with the ACUA, only one has accepted the offer so far.
If approved at Wednesday’s 6 p.m. Linwood City Council meeting, Linwood would become the 10th municipality in Atlantic County in which solid waste removal is handled by the authority, ACUA President Rick Dovey said.
Linwood Councilwoman Stacy DeDomenecis, who oversees public works, said the idea of the ACUA handling trash pickup had been discussed before, “but it didn’t work for the city,” she said. “There have to be financial benefits, and the service has to be the same quality. This proposal was great, because there was a financial benefit.”
Councilman Darren Matik said the ACUA’s offer of trash pickup for $165,700 a year would save the city between $254,000 and $320,000 per year. In addition, the deal would include the purchase of the city’s truck for $171,000.
“The pricing we got from the ACUA was extremely competitive,” Matik said. “(It’s) probably because they handle it for nine other municipalities in the immediate area, (and) they were able to pass the savings on.”
The ACUA handles trash pickup for Brigantine, Ventnor, Margate, Longport, Absecon, Pleasantville, Egg Harbor City, Buena Vista Township and Corbin City, Dovey said.
“We look forward to the opportunity of serving the municipality well,” Dovey said. “This would allow them to continue (the) high level of service the public works department has provided, and provide savings.”
The three employees make a combined $155,000 annually, DeDomenecis estimated, plus an additional $35,000 in benefits.
“Every time the issue has come up, I’ve been a big supporter of those employees,” she said. “But this was a proposal we could not poke a hole in. ... The fact the three employees are given an opportunity (for hire at the ACUA), it makes you feel better. It’s hard to lay anyone off in this economy. I felt it was a win/win situation.”
She added that the employees would be able to start at an “experienced” level within the ACUA and would have the opportunity to join other departments other than solid waste pickup.
Dovey said that one interview took place last week.
“We said we would offer an interview, and if successful — and they also pass other pre-employment tests like drug tests — we would hire them,” Dovey said. Regarding the employee interviewed, “until he’s actually laid off, we haven’t offered him something yet.”
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