Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg may begin trash collection in Penbrook, Paxtang

Harrisburg trash cans

One borough’s trash is another city’s treasure.

At a City Council meeting on Tuesday night, Harrisburg announced a proposal to begin providing trash and recycling collection to Penbrook and Paxtang boroughs—a move the city administration says will pay off for the city.

“I think this is a really terrific story for Harrisburg,” Mayor Eric Papenfuse said. “This represents over $2 million in new revenue sources that would be coming to Harrisburg over the next five years.”

If passed by council, Harrisburg will collect trash from three local municipalities in all. In June 2019, the city inked a deal with Steelton as its first intergovernmental agreement for garbage pickup.

Papenfuse said that the arrangement with Steelton has been “very successful.” Penbrook and Paxtang, he said, took note of that and have already declined bids from private companies, opting for Harrisburg’s services.

“I think this is great news for Harrisburg, not only as a revenue source, but also for the region,” he said. “It is really an example of that type of regional cooperation that we really need to see.”

In its agreement with Steelton, Harrisburg must bill each household for services, but Paxtang and Penbrook will be billed as municipalities. Residents in those boroughs pay for waste collection as part of their property taxes. This assures there is no delinquency on payments.

In Steelton there is a payment collection rate of over 97%, Papenfuse said. Harrisburg falls behind with an 84% rate of collection. Increasing the collection rate in Harrisburg by just 3% would enhance city revenues by $500,000, he said.

As part of his 2021 budget presentation, Papenfuse also proposed hiring a new lien officer to improve revenue collection.

In addition, Papenfuse proposed added six new sanitation workers and one sanitation manager to the Department of Public Works. They will increase the ability to collect waste from the added Penbrook and Paxtang boroughs, the mayor said.

Council will likely vote on the new intergovernmental agreements in December, Papenfuse said.

“This is great news,” he said. “We will get the benefit of increased capacity in our Public Works Department to do even more.”

To watch past Harrisburg City Council meetings, visit the city’s YouTube channel. 

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