Babylon Town officials are bracing themselves as they begin service with their first new residential garbage company in 25 years.
The new company, EnCon Industries Corp., had just weeks to create a workforce and purchase trucks to handle pickups for more than 43,000 properties, or parcels.
EnCon was formed specifically to bid for the town contract last spring and was the second-lowest bidder, offering collections at $13.40 per parcel per month. The initial contract with the lowest bidder, Jody Enterprises, was thrown out earlier this month after two employees were arrested on charges of stealing from client Smithtown Town. Soon after, the company's president was arrested, allegedly for attempting to defraud Babylon by withholding information during the bidding process.
As a result, the town and EnCon have had to scramble to get garbage service ready for residents before the current contract expires Monday. That agreement, with Babylon Source Separation Inc. (BSSI) of West Babylon, was signed in 1987 and extended for 20 years in 1992. The town said that because of yearly increases in that contract, the town has been recently paying more than twice as much for garbage collection as nearby towns.
To smooth the transition, EnCon president Anthony Core said that an "overwhelming majority" of his workforce are former BSSI workers. Core said that even with the tight deadline, the company is "well prepared" with all drivers and helpers interviewed, vetted, drug-tested and road-tested. Core's bid estimated 26 trucks and 62 workers, but he said that has grown to 28 trucks and more than 70 workers.
Core said the only difficulty has been the town's routes, which he said are "not systematic." He said he would like to work with the town to develop a better system, noting "defined districts are more recognizable."
Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer cautioned that the company's 10-year, $84 million contract is for the town as a whole and would not change, though he's open to "making things more efficient." Schaffer said he spent four hours observing EnCon's operations last weekend and he is confident the company is set for Monday.
"Knock on wood, I think they're ready to go," he said.
Omni Recycling, also owned by Core, has been the town's recycling company since 1994.
"Not only am I confident in their financial position, but also in their integrity and their ability to get the job done," Schaffer said. The town has told residents their garbage service should not change, though pickup times might be different. As such, residents are encouraged to put their garbage out the night before service.