Bids received last night by Summit Hill Borough Council for municipal garbage collection indicate rates for residents probably won't rise during the next four years.

The low bid for a four-year contract was submitted by Tamaqua Transfer and Recycling at the rate of $1,165,658. This is nearly $30,000 less than the last four-year contract.

Five firms provided the borough with bids on trash collection, with the quotations between the high bidder and the low bidder being about $303,000.

Council President Joe Weber said the bids will be forwarded to the borough's solicitor, Attorney Joseph Matika, for review.

Meanwhile, council discussed amending the garbage ordinance and re-instating a landlord tenant ordinance.

The council said there are residents in the borough who have vacant structures, but under the present ordinance they must pay the annual $200 garbage fee on those structures.

A proposal to be presented to the solicitor would exonerate property owners from garbage bills if a house is vacant for at least six months.

John Shemansik, chairman of the ordinance committee of the borough, said there were “valid" complaints received from owners of houses which have been vacant for years, but still must pay the trash collection fee.

Discussion by the council indicated any resident wanting to be exempt would have to inform the borough a structure is vacant. After six months, the property would qualify for garbage fee exemption.

This would include houses being sold or homes in which residents go into nursing homes, the council said.

If the home is occupied even one day during the six month period, it will not qualify for the exemption.

The exemption will not be retroactive.

It was stressed that this is only a proposal and an ordinance would have to be adopted before any action is taken, so residents should not notify the borough secretary now of vacancies.

The council pointed out that it has stipulated in the new garbage contract that the rates to the trash collection firm will be reduced if homes are taken off the collection list.

The controversy arose last year when it was discovered there were exemptions already being given to some homeowners for vacant buildings, resulting in a $29,000 shortage in the garbage budget. Since no present ordinance permits such exonerations, the borough added these properties back on the trash collection billing cycle. This prompted complaints from some of the property owners.

Meanwhile, the borough council discussed possibly implementing a landlord/tenant ordinance which requires that landlords have rental properties inspected whenever a tenant moves. In addition, the landlords must advise the borough when a building a re-occupied.