Usually, Harrisburg’s mayor doesn’t intentionally stand in front of trash trucks for photo ops, but this day was different.
Both Harrisburg and Steelton officials gathered at the city’s Public Works building late on Wednesday to officially announce their new intergovernmental sanitation agreement.
Last night, Harrisburg City Council voted unanimously to allow the city to begin collecting Steelton’s residential trash and recycling starting the week of July 1.
“This was an opportunity we were really pleased to grab hold of and work together on,” Mayor Eric Papenfuse said.
Steelton Council President Brian Proctor said that he was the first to approach Harrisburg officials with the idea of joining forces after borough residents voiced complaints about the service provided by their long-time hauler, Republic Services. They also were staring at a significant price increase from $24.45 to as high as $39.45 per month for trash collection.
“The borough of Steelton listened to its residents—and we listened to our residents,” Papenfuse said.
Steelton residents will now pay $25 a month for trash pickup compared to the $32.34 Harrisburg city residents pay.
Papenfuse explained that this discrepancy is due to the much higher “tipping fee” that Harrisburg pays for refuse disposal at the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) facility in south Harrisburg.
Public Works Director Aaron Johnson emphasized that the new agreement will not cause a shortage of employees in Harrisburg.
“It’s my belief that we can do this better than anyone,” added Deputy Director David West.
Local officials from both municipalities said they were pleased at how quickly the agreement came together since the process began less than a month ago.
“To get two municipal councils to work together in a few weeks is remarkable,” Papenfuse said.
Steelton residents can expect welcome letters, and an initial quarterly bill, to be sent out in July, along with the dimensions and models of their new trashcans, Papenfuse said.
Steelton Planning Commission Chairman Dennis Heefner summed up the end result in a simple way–better service for borough residents.
“I’m just happy they will take their time and empty the trash,” he said.