Bids awarded by Lehighton Borough Council for trash collecting services were good news for borough residents.

The price per year for the next three years is actually a little less than the current cost.

Although the budget for 2010 hasn't been proposed by the council, the new contract indicates its unlikely there will be any increase in monthly rates for borough residents for the next three years.

Four companies bid on the contract, with the low bidder being McAuliffe Hauling and Recycling of Walnutport.

The bid price was $1,495,567.90 for a three-year contract, or $498.522 per year. Currently the budgeted amount for contracted trash collections is $499,200 per year.

McAuliffe outbid Tamaqua Transfer of Tamaqua by about $1,900 for the three years. Tamaqua Transfer is the present waste hauler.

Garbage and recycling will occur on the same day of the week under the new contract.

Waste Management and J. P. Mascarro both bid $1,989,150 and $1,920,132 for the same contracts.

The bidders submitted quotations for both one-, two-, and three-day pickup, whereby the pickups would have occurred in different locations of town on different days of the week.

McAuliffe offered the same quote for all three options.

John C. Wagner, borough manager, recommended the single-day pickup, stating, "Borough employees always field a significant number of telephone calls on trash pickup day. That time away from more productive work, in addition to the residents being used to a single-day pickup are, I believe, sufficient to encourage the continued use of a one-day pickup schedule."

The bids also were received for one, two, or three years. A one-year contract with McAuliffe would have been $478,464.05, versus the $498,522 per year for the three-year pact.

Wagner said, "The difference in McAuliffe's bid price comparing a one-year and three-year contract is 68 cents per household. This amounts to a 4.16 percent increase to lock in prices for three years, versus signing only a one-year contract. It is my recommendation, therefore, that we enter into a three-year contract."

The garbage contract to McAuliffe came by a 4-2 vote of the council, with Councilman Scott Rehrig and council President Grant Hunsicker casting the "no" votes.