Belleville settles contract with new trash hauler

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The Township of Belleville has opted to sweep out its old trash collector in favor of a rival firm that offered a better deal.

On May 24, the township governing body voted to award a contract for the collection of solid waste and recycling collection services to Joseph Smentkowski Inc./Galaxy Carting, of Jersey City.

Smentkowski/Galaxy will receive a three-year deal calling for annual payments of $1,934,000 for solid waste and recycling collections.

The company will get $300 per hour and up to $2,400 per day for on-call vehicle rental each of the three years.

And the company will collect $255, $265 and $275 respectively, for years 1, 2 and 3 for roll-off service.

“While the prices are higher than the past five-year contract, they represent competitive prices under the current market conditions,” according to the resolution awarding the contract.

In making this award, the township is breaking with the longtime incumbent vendor, Suburban Disposal, of Fairfield. In a letter to residents posted on the township website March 1, 2022, Township Manager Anthony Iacono said the switch to Galaxy was being made chiefly because “the level of service provided to our community was inadequate and failed to meet our expectations.”

But Suburban didn’t give up without a fight.

After its contract expired Oct. 31, 2021, the township extended the agreement through Dec. 31, 2021, then solicited bids but, it only got one, which it rejected — and authorized a second extension.

The township then re-advertised for a new round of bids. It got two, from Suburban and Galaxy. The township rejected Suburban’s bid “because the bidder made changes to the proposal forms” and awarded a new contract to Galaxy.

But Suburban then sued and the court ordered Belleville to conduct a second re-bid, resulting in a new set of bids from both companies and “it was determined that Joseph Smentkowski Inc. was the lowest responsible bidder.”


In other business conducted May 24, the governing body introduced several ordinances, one to authorize issuing $5 million in bonds for the first phase of the lead service line replacement project, another to authorize issuing $125,000 in bonds as a “temporary emergency” for meters and related parts and base station wall mounts and another to eliminate the job title of principal registered environmental specialist/public health with a salary range of $86,331 to $97,879 — a position that Mayor Michael Melham said was unnecessary and currently unfilled.

The governing body also authorized the township engineer to prepare bid specifications for the annual state Department of Transportation road program for 2020 and 2021.

Belleville received a 2020 DOT grant of $721,841 for improvements to the entire length of Belleview Court, Branch Brook Drive and Delavan Avenue; Heckel Street (Honiss to Bloomfield), Jerome Avenue (King to Cottage), King Place (entire length), Little Street (Washington to Union), Newcomb Street (entire length), Passaic Avenue (Greylock to Union) and Springer Street (entire length).

The township will apply a 2021 DOT grant of $571,360 for improvements to Hewitt Avenue (entire length), Lavergne Street (Smallwood to Belleville), Rhode Place (entire length), Jefferson Street (entire length), Rutgers Street (Washington to Hornblower), Rutgers Court (entire length) and Joralemon Street (Main to Washington).

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Ron Leir | For The Observer

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc.

He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter.

He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based WHATCo. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, New York