There will be no municipal tax hike for Rush Township residents in 2011 and a new trash hauler will take over without changes to the existing schedule.

At a Wednesday morning meeting of the board of supervisors held at the municipal building, Chairman Steve Simchak and Supervisor Robert Leibensperger passed a motion to adopt a total operating budget of $3,096,350.

A third supervisor, Shawn Gilbert, vice chairman, was not in attendance.

The taxation rate stays at the current 5.62 mills.

One change involves the hiring of a new sanitation contractor effective March, 2011, which might allow the township to reduce the garbage collection rate from $150 to $140.

As it turns out, Rush Township will use the same hauler handling the Borough of Lehighton.

The township has contracted with Interstate Waste Management Services, part of the Walnutport-based McAuliffe Hauling and Recycling Services. The hauler was significantly price competitive, undercutting the competition by $78,000, said the board.

"We're expanding in the area," explained Ron Carlson, Interstate's general manager. Carlson was on hand with Jay McLaughlin of Bucks County, who serves as the firm's municipal marketing manager.

McLaughlin said the hauler also handles Lehighton, Slatington, Walnutport, Lower Towamensing Township and other locations.

The bag limit and pickup schedules are expected to remain the same.

The collection and disposal will include garbage, refuse, ashes, rubbish and riffraff from each residential unit or township location once a week.

The contract allows for a maximum of five containers of no more than 30-gallon capacity, not to exceed 70 pounds in weight. Also included is one large item such as a sofa, chair, TV, mattress cut to reasonable size if necessary, and subject to items prohibited by landfill regulations.

Also included will be tree limbs or a wood bundle not to exceed three feet in length and fourteen inches in diameter.

In a side note, McLaughlin told THE TIMES NEWS that Interstate Waste Management falls under the umbrella of the McAuliffe company, a business which traces its name back to General Anthony Clement McAuliffe, U.S. Army general who commanded the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge.

Resident Pat Tracy questioned the hiring of a contractor that isn't local. In response, Simchak said the township chose to go with the lowest bidder.

In response to questions by Marion Lazur, former supervisor, the board indicated that the total carry-over in the general fund was $209,580.67.

Lazur also questioned the amount of money allocated for meetings of Eastern Schuylkill Regional Planning, indicating that the budgeted $2,000 wouldn't be enough.

Simchak said adjustments can be made down the road if necessary.

"If we need to do a budget revision in the future, we'll do it," Simchak said.

In other action, the board agreed to hire part-time snow plow drivers for the winter season, including Robert Argust, Robert G. Heckman and David Kriner. The board also approved the engineering services proposal submitted by Alfred Benesch & Company for Meadow Avenue Phase 2 in the amount of $41,000.

The board announced that a reorganizational meeting will take place on January 3 at 10 a.m.