Court overturnsambler Borough’s trash collection contract
The trash wars appear to be over after Ambler Borough Council agreed to award a contract to J.P. Mascaro & Sons at its Sept. 18 meeting.
In late 2010 the borough solicited bids for a threeor five-year trash collection contract, with BFI, Mascaro and Waste Management submitting bids.
BFI won the original bid, coming in at 34 cents per household per week less than Mascaro, before a civil action complaint was filed Jan. 3, 2011, in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas by Valdo Dragani, an Ambler Borough resident, naming both Ambler Borough and BFI as defendants. The civil action complaint was filed based on complaints made by Mascaro that BFI’s bid did not meet the borough’s specifications in multiple ways.
The decision by Judge Bernard A. Moore found the three-year contract was indeed noncompliant, reversed the decision made by the borough and sent it back to the borough to decide whether to ac- cept the second lowest bid from Mascaro or rebid and take the chance of having the price increase dramatically.
The decision to go with Mascaro’s original bid was seemingly not an easy one, as the board wrestled with the idea of rebidding and risking a spike in price.
By going with Mascaro’s bid, Borough Manager Mary Aversa said the borough would technically be in the third year of the contract and doesn’t know what the cost would have been. She said the borough is starting a three-year contract from prices from three years ago.
In other business, the borough agreed to review its zoning ordinance in order to potentially allow St. Joseph’s Church to lease out its currently unoccupied building.
In an attempt for a small computer software company to lease the building, an attorney representing the company explained that according to the borough’s current zoning ordinance, the building is in an institutional zone and use by the business isn’t permitted. While the current ordinance does allow for professional offices, the business wouldn’t fall under what the borough considers a professional office, such as a doctor’s or lawyer’s office.
The other option the software company could have taken was to get a variance that would allow for the company to be an exception to the current ordinance without having to change the text. The problem with that option was an issue of timing. The business is moving out of one building and needs to be in a new building before the lease on the old building is up in order to make a smooth transition. By asking for a variance, too much time would be needed because it would require going to the zoning hearing board first, then going to council in order to approve the variance.
Council agreed to review a text amendment to the zoning ordinance after it was made clear that no customers would be entering the building, the business was not affiliated with the church, it could be taxed and the borough could tailor the new language of the text to make sure there would be no disruption to residential areas.