St. Croix trash haulers discuss possibility of new arrangement with Waste Management


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Waste haulers on St. Croix met Tuesday to talk about the V.I. Waste Management Authority's move to cut their contract for lack of funding.

They said the Waste Management Authority is behind in paying them, and they just got their May payment in the beginning of this month. However, that is pretty normal, according to James Bates of Bates Trucking and Trash Removal.

For now, the waste haulers are willing to work out a solution with the Waste Management Authority and are not suggesting any job actions or work stoppage.

"We said we'd come to the table, but it depends on what price," Bates said. "We still have to go and talk with them to resolve the problem that they're trying to bring upon us. We just want to work things out and for them to honor the current contract that we have now."

Waste Management Authority officials said they would not comment on the matter until after their budget hearing.

The Waste Management Authority defends their Fiscal Year 2015 budget request before the Senate Finance Committee at 9 a.m. today on St. Croix.

The haulers said Tuesday they are halfway through a five-year contract with the agency.

The haulers used to be on annual contracts but took a pay cut of about 20 percent in exchange for the security of a five-year contract with Waste Management Authority, Bates said Tuesday.

At the end of last month, Waste Management Authority officials met with waste haulers territorywide, telling them the agency did not have the money to pay them at the current rates and they wanted to reduce the contract.

Bates said the proposal was to cut the number of pick-ups from twice a week to once a week, and reduce the amount Waste Management would pay. The agency wants the new agreement to begin in October, he said.

He said the haulers would be picking up the same amount of garbage, but less often and for less money.

The haulers at Tuesday's meeting said that one day would be very long, and the dump's hours would need to be extended so that their trucks could make the necessary trips.

They also expressed concerns about the threat to public health to have the garbage sitting and piling up for longer periods of time.

- Contact Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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