CENTRAL FALLS — Joining neighboring Pawtucket, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa has privatized the city's trash and recycling services with the Seekonk, Mass.-based vendor MTG Disposal, Inc.
Diossa said the decision to go with a private vendor for the in-house trash services will mean the elimination of six municipal worker positions, including one director post. There were already two vacancies in the department, so the actual lay-offs will be three, he said. He added, however, that under the negotiations with MTG Disposal, the firm has agreed to offer jobs to these employees if they have openings available.
Diossa said that switching to a private vendor is expected to save the city $414,000 over the span of the five-year contract. The city will no longer have to pay for fuel, health benefits, workers' compensation coverage, and truck repairs. He said the city's fleet of four trash trucks have been on the road since 2004 and are “constantly breaking down.” He added that it would have cost about $800,000 to replace the trucks with new ones.
The mayor said that the trash services had been privatized before, back in 200 under then-Mayor Lee Matthews. Several years later, former Mayor Charles Moreau brought the trash and recycling work back to the city's Highway Department.
The city will pay MTG Disposal $513,000 annually, as compared to the $576,582 cost of collecting the trash and recycling in-house. The vendor is scheduled to begin trash collection in the city on June 1.
Diossa said the move will make for a cleaner Central Falls, because it will free up the remaining Highway Department workers to tackle infrastructure needs and other projects. The trash had been collected three days a week, Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving just two days for other types of work. “It will absolutely improve the city,” the mayor said.
Diossa noted that he has been extremely busy in recent weeks “tying up loose ends,” as the receivership is scheduled to end on Monday.
The city's newest mayor, who was sworn in in January, deflected some recent media criticism about the fact that workers in three major city unions—firefighters, police and employees affiliated with AFSCME Council 94—are scheduled to receive raises under their negotiated contracts.
“Those were done by the receivership,” Diossa stated. “And a lot of those individuals took many, many cuts prior to that.” He added that he is looking forward to the new fiscal era and “moving the city forward.”