GovernmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Yorktown Garbage Hauler Fined $59K for Trash Hiccups

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The Town of Yorktown is searching for a new garbage hauler after fining its current company $59,500 for uncollected trash.

“This is not the way it’s supposed to work, and we know it,” Supervisor Tom Diana said at last week’s Town Board meeting. “Garbage delays are not going to be tolerated. We are taking this very seriously. The seams are broken at this time and we’re not happy.”

Town Attorney Adam Rodriguez said the fines imposed by the town against Competitive Carting for failing to collect household refuse and recycling the first week of July were withdrawn from the monthly payments made to the company, which was awarded a five-year contract in late 2022 after the town’s previous hauler, AAA Carting and Rubbish Removal, proposed a $1.75 million increase.

Competitive Carting’s failure to collect refuse after the Independence Day holiday was the second major garbage disruption since they began serving Yorktown on January 1. Throughout January, Competitive Carting, based in Mahopac, struggled to service Yorktown’s households.

“If we have to drop the hammer, there will be a company in place,” Councilman Ed Lachterman said.

A seven-day notice of default and cure was sent by the town to Competitive Carting Corporation, informing them of the financial consequences and potential contract termination if the garbage collection disruption reported by residents was not resolved.

Rodriguez said that notice expired, and the town had the option to take action and terminate the contract.

“We’ve taken significant steps to protect the town’s interests,” Rodriguez said.

The town’s refuse and recycling staff is documenting additional garbage-collection failures. Each weekday at 5 a.m., the department’s staff will drive along the previous day’s collection routes to determine how much garbage was uncollected.

Town Board members defended their decision last year to choose Competitive Carting, which submitted the lowest bid that was expected to save taxpayers $1.5 million.

“Nobody up here is happy. We did vet this person. He checked all the boxes,” said Councilman Sergio Esposito. “Was that the best decision? He didn’t deliver.”

“This guy had experience with the town,” Councilman Luciana Haughwout said. “I assure you it was done in the most transparent way and in good faith.”

Several residents told the board it was time to cut bait with Competitive Carting.

“Competitive Carting was not up to the job,” Sarah Wilson said. “They were the lowest bidder, but not the lowest responsible bidder.”

“I have no clue why you went with this vendor,” Dan Strauss said. “Everyone was happy with what was being done (with the previous company).”

Under the current pact with Competitive Carting, the town is paying $3.5 million in 2023, with an escalating rate rising to $4 million in 2027. For the previous five years, Yorktown only paid $2 million annually to AAA Carting, which submitted a losing bid of $3.75 million.

After being replaced, AAA Carting and Rubbish Removal launched an Article 78 proceeding Feb. 1 against the Town Board and Competitive Carting. The main thrust of the lawsuit is Yorktown officials allegedly violated New York’s competitive bidding statutes by rejecting AAA as the lowest and only responsible bidder and issuing a contract to Competitive Carting that allegedly was “materially different” than what was put out to bid.

Competitive Carting did not return an email seeking comment.

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