NORTHFIELD VILLAGE — A program giving residents a place to dump refuse has been canceled due to cost overruns brought about, at least in part, to some people not following the rules, village officials say.
Mayor Jesse Nehez announced June 15 that the program offering large trash bins for people to drop off items too large for their curbside bins at three sites was immediately terminated more than two weeks before it was scheduled to end. The program, which began May 16, had been scheduled to run until July 1. Trash binds were at sites on Ledge and Houghton roads and on Chestnut Avenue.
"This action has been taken because the waste hauling costs for removing the filled-up [bins] have now significantly exceeded the amount projected and budgeted for this service," wrote Nehez.
Jason Walters, the village’s public service superintendent, said Friday that the program had been budgeted for $12,000. He said that costs were $6,900 for the first two weeks of the program, the only part that the village has been billed for so far. He estimated that the program will be as much as $1,400 over budget, even after ending two weeks early.
Nehez said he made the decision to halt the free service.
"Due to the fact the Village has experienced significant revenue loss in the past few months due to the COVID-19 related business closures and reductions and the reduced revenue projections are expected to continue into the future, I did not feel it was prudent to expend additional village funds on the [bin] program this year," he wrote.
In March, Village Council reduced the village’s budget by about $4.5 million, from $14.95 million to $10.44 million, in response to anticipated income tax revenue losses due to the shutdown. This necessitated placing several major capital improvement projects on hold, including the expansion and renovation of the fire station, the reconstruction of Coventry Road, and replacement of a water main along Victory Boulevard. Other expenses considered non-essential were also cut.
Nehez said part of the problem was due to some people leaving items that are not allowed in the bins, such as paint, tires, bricks and cinder blocks.
Walters said that in addition to this, it was not just village residents who were taking advantage of the service.
"We had to have the police start guarding the [bins] because we had people from other communities come in and dumping there," he said, adding "It’s for Northfield Village residents only."
Nehez noted that the annual program for May Clean-Up Month usual runs for the month of May only. Its start was delayed until mid-May due to the pandemic, but the village decided to run it longer this year and it was this additional time that was canceled.
"While I am disappointed I have to terminate the program, I am happy we were able to keep it in place for thirty-one days as in past years," he wrote. "The village apologizes for any inconvenience this decision may cause. Hopefully this action is mitigated by the fact that Waste Management has resumed regular pick-up service of items left outside of its company issued garbage bins."
Editor’s note: Correspondent Ken Lahmers contributed to this story.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at email@example.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.