Aiken tags

According to Aiken Refuse, the reason New Castle residents can’t use their extra garbage tags in the upcoming garbage contract is due to counterfeit tags.

City residents with extra yellow garbage tags hoping for a refund or a credit will be disappointed.

Both Aiken Refuse and New Castle administration confirmed there will be no refund or credit system offered for any extra garbage tags.

Matt Aiken, general manager and owner of the Ellwood City-based company, encouraged all residents to use as many of their remaining tags by the last day of the company’s current contract on March 31.

Aiken said the company will not offer any refunds or some form of credit for extra tags remaining.

“It would be very difficult to come (up) with a refund amount,” Aiken said.

Aiken said the sale of the tags through the contract was able to help pay for employee wages and fuel costs.

City Administrator Chris Frye confirmed the city will not be offering any refund or credit system as well.

He said while neither he or anyone currently on council approved the current contract, it states the amount of tags needed to be purchased per quarter.

Aiken Refuse was the lone bidder for a new garbage/recycling contract for the city during council’s Jan. 19 meeting. Council will vote on whether to accept or deny the bid in February.

If the bid is approved, Aiken would offer a hybrid system allowing residents to use both 95-gallon bins and bags similar the city’s former blue bag program.

“I think Matt Aiken did his due diligence to meet the needs of the residents,” Frye said regarding the bid proposal and how it would work for residents.

Frye said if the bid is approved, city administration and Aiken would work together on the transition between the expiring contract and the new one with bins and bags. If approved, the next contract would take effect on April 1.

However, Frye said there are systems in place in the event council rejects the bid. He said Aiken can agree to a 90-day extension of the current contract to allow the city time to re-advertise bids and seek a new provider.

The city and Aiken can also agree to a one-year extension to allow for even more time for searching, although Frye admits that’s not an option desirable for either side.

“I don’t believe that’s the interest of both Aiken and the city,” Frye said.

In past council meetings, residents have spoken against the tag system, noting their displeasure for buying extra tags that they don’t need, or them not receiving their tags in time through the mail.

Residents have often shown up to meetings with stacks or extra tags, which by April 1 could be worthless to them.

Frye wanted to assure residents he and council have heard residents’ complaints, and have been taking precautions to make sure the next garbage contract meets the needs and requests of residents.

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