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Oyster Bay to vote on disputed single-stream recycling bid

Oyster Bay Town Hall is shown in this

Oyster Bay Town Hall is shown in this photo taken on Sunday, March 27, 2016. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

The Oyster Bay Town Board will on Tuesday revisit a vote it delayed a week ago on a contract for a new recycling system after a board member said the winning bid is so much higher than the others that it “raises questions.”

“In my life I’ve found that if something seems too good, there’s something wrong with it,” Councilman Anthony Macagnone said.

The contract would be the first under a new single-stream recycling system, in which all recyclables would be picked up together and sorted later. Under the current system, residents separate paper from metals, glass and plastic. Curbside cardboard pickup would be added to the new system.

West Babylon-based Winters Brothers Waste Systems agreed to pay the town $25.08 a ton for five years for recyclable materials. West End Waste Reduction Inc. — which officials said is under the same ownership as West Babylon-based Omni Recycling — offered to pay $8.56 a ton for five years, while City Carting and Recycling of Stamford, Connecticut, proposed charging the town $10 a ton to haul away the material for the first 14 months and $20 a ton for the following year. No amount was given on the bid for the other three years. The contract is from Oct. 16, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2018, with an option by the town to extend it one year for each of the following four years.

“We are getting the best deal on Long Island, at $25.08 a ton,” Neil Bergin, the commissioner of environmental resources, told board members.

But Brad Slover, an attorney for Omni, urged board members to delay a vote until their next regularly scheduled meeting, on Sept. 12.

Slover said that Winters Brothers offered “a rate that we believe is significantly higher than anywhere else on Long Island or in the Northeast region. Why? What is the catch? Shouldn’t the town take a few more weeks and ask additional questions before it jumps into this substantial program change, a change that might not easily be reversible?”

Macagnone said Slover convinced him that a more detailed analysis of the bids is needed.

“It’s a great deal,” Macagnone said of the Winters Brothers offer. “I just want to make sure it’s real.”

Town Attorney Joseph Nocella said postponing the vote would delay the entire program, which was set to launch on Oct. 16, because the town must give a 60-day cancellation notice to the current recycling contractors, Omni and Queens-based Giove Company Inc.

Supervisor Joseph Saladino said delaying the vote also would cost money, because the town expects to earn at least $434,000 a year from a switch to single-stream.

“We went through an open and legal bid process,” Saladino said. “This company won the bid fairly and legally. We have a certain responsibility to live up to the agreement that we make with a company.”

But he proposed later in the meeting that, to address Macagnone’s concerns, the vote could be delayed until Aug. 22, and the rest of the board agreed.

The board is scheduled to meet — in what is technically a continuance of last Tuesday’s meeting — at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Town Hall East.

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