Town feels it’s been overcharged

Rudy Norman
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Wants money back, or weekly garbage collection instated

The town of Lushes Bight-Beaumont is having issues with their waste collection and the Green Bay Waste Authority.
According to Mayor Barbara Colbourne, the issues have been ongoing for awhile but have only come to light recently after they took a closer look at the books.

Colbourne says that the community, which is on Long Island, has been part of the Green Bay Waste Authority since the beginning.

“Back 10 years ago, or whenever it (waste authority) was started, they came to the council at the time and asked them to join in as well,” she said.

Colbourne says she wasn’t involved in the town council at the time, but it’s her understanding that the municipal government at the time decided not to join the waste authority.

“I guess they said at the time that they couldn’t afford to join,” she said. “So they declined to be part of it. But sometime after that, it all changed.”

Colbourne says past council minutes show that the coordinator of the Green Bay Waste Authority at the time went back to the Lushes Bight-Beaumont council and suggest an alternative that would see the town pay a reduced rate to join the authority.

“The agreement was made that we would only pay half of what everyone else was paying,” she said, “and as a result of that, we would only get our garbage collected every two weeks.”

Colbourne says the council of the day felt it could live with that, and agreed to the revised terms with the Waste Authority.

Since then, says the mayor, things have changed.

There’s a new co-ordinator employed by the Waste Authority, as well as a new town clerk for the town and, of course, new members of council and the waste management board.

Somewhere amidst that shuffle, says Colbourne, the town of Lushes Bight-Beaumont started getting bills that were much higher than the town had agreed to when it joined the Authority.

“I guess with all the turnover and what-not, it wasn’t noticed,” she said. “But we’ve been paying the same amount as everyone else for the past while, and that’s not what was agreed on.”

Colbourne says that the town still only gets their garbage collected once every two weeks, but they’re paying as if it’s being collected every week.

The situation was noticed in November when a new council was elected.

Now, she says, council has gone back to the Green Bay Waste Authority and told them they want the situation rectified.

“We want to either pay what we used to pay, or we want our garbage picked up every week,” she said. However, the town was told that neither is going to happen.

“They told us that they weren’t doing either. They were still going to pick up our garbage every two weeks and they’re still going to charge us the same as everyone else.”

Colbourne says they were told by the Chair of the Green Bay Waste Authority, Dennis Vincent, that they have to be fair to everyone and charge everyone the same amount.

Vincent didn’t return a call to The Nor’wester in time for deadline for Thursday’s edition.

However, Colbourne says her town has made its own decision.

“We’ve decided that we will only be paying for the weeks that our garbage is collected from now on,” she said. “The Waste Authority will likely say that we’re in arrears, but we don’t consider ourselves in arrears. If we’re paying for the full service, then we want the full service.”

Colbourne says the town also asked the Waste Authority to return the money that they’ve overpaid over the past number of months, but she isn’t optimistic.

“I don’t expect to get the money back,” she said. “But if we could just get what we’re paying for now, I’d be happy.”

Organizations: Green Bay Waste Authority, Lushes Bight-Beaumont council

Geographic location: Long Island

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