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New hauler hailed in Babylon

A sanitation worker for the town of Babylon

A sanitation worker for the town of Babylon picks up garbage on Cherubina Lane in North Babylon on the first day of residential garbage pickup under a new contractor. (Oct. 1, 2012) Credit: James Carbone

The first day of Babylon's new 10-year, $84 million garbage contract passed largely without incident, town officials said Monday.

"Overall, it went very well," said Supervisor Rich Schaffer. "Better than I expected."

After months of garbage drama that led to impassioned debate on carting rates in town hall and criminal charges against employees of the company Babylon first picked to haul its garbage, few residents seemed to notice much of a change.

Pickup started at 6 a.m. and finished after about five hours.

A town hotline fielded about 150 calls, but only a handful were about late or missed pickups, and the orange trucks were dispatched again in those cases, town spokesman Tim Ruggeri wrote in an email.

Most calls were for information, he said, despite an aggressive, weeks-long campaign to convey basics about the new contract that included robocalls, direct mail and town website posts.

EnCon Industries Corp., which took over from BSSI, made about 22,000 pickups Monday for homes on the Monday/Thursday schedule and is scheduled to make about the same number Tuesday for homes on the Tuesday/Friday schedule.

Residents were asked to put out garbage the night before to make it easier for the new company, but Schaffer said many of EnCon's drivers and helpers, hired from BSSI, are familiar with the town.

A show of hands at a meeting between the town and EnCon workers on Sunday indicated most are town residents, he said.

The town's old BSSI contract, first signed in 1987, included annual increases that left the town paying more than twice as much as nearby towns for garbage collection in recent years.

Babylon lined up a better deal earlier this year with Bay Shore-based Jody Enterprises, but that contract was thrown out last month after two company employees were arrested on charges of stealing recyclables from Smithtown.

The company's president was later arrested, charged with attempting to defraud Babylon by withholding information during the bidding process.

With little time before the BSSI contract expired, the town and EnCon had to scramble to prepare for opening day.

The prep work made at least one fan: "They came by my block early and were doing fine," said Vincent Sciacca, 69, a retired NYPD officer and president of the Sunset City Civic Association who lives on Interlaken Lane in North Babylon. "The trucks looked beautiful too."

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