Letter: Franklin Township needs a better recycling solution than Solid Waste can offer

As a Franklin Township resident, I’m frustrated but not surprised by the issues with the Solid Waste District. We went from weekly collections to every other week, from small containers that were convenient for those of us with really long driveways to massive containers that were impractical eyesores. When I contacted the department years ago to express the difficulties we were having getting the new containers down our very long driveway, I was told that I should just leave the container at the end of the driveway all the time. Aside from how that would look (really bad), and animals/wind knocking it over and scattering trash, we also have three houses sharing our driveway and definitely no room for three-plus cans to sit as permanent fixtures. That’s not exactly a practical solution, but I’ve never gotten the impression that the Solid Waste District really cared about what was workable for its customers. 

In any case, I have significant concerns about the current dispute over the contract. I’m not an attorney, but, as a business owner, I read a lot of contracts. It is my understanding, having reviewed the document, that the District cannot terminate the contract, even with 180 days’ notice. The contract is written to go through Dec. 31, 2024, with automatic annual renewal unless either party notifies the other that they wish to terminate at least 180 days prior to the renewal. In that case, the District would be fine to terminate, but only at the end of the contract. 

There is a second provision, Section 15.2, that does allow the District to terminate the contract earlier than the renewal date under two conditions. They may terminate with 180 days’ notice if the township fails to comply with the agreement, and then only if the township has not corrected the issue upon having been notified that there is an issue. The District may also terminate immediately “in the event that any Township reasonably act(s) or omission(s) frustrate, impede, obstruct, unreasonably delay or otherwise unreasonably increase the cost of the District’s ability to perform its obligations under this Agreement.” I do not believe that either of those cases apply, unless it is somehow unreasonable for the Township to expect that the District and the County uphold their end of the contract to which they agreed only two years ago.

The contract also contains language that allows the District to renegotiate the cost of the program, should costs go up or recycling revenues go down. So the District isn’t without options if finances are an issue.

I was hopeful that new leadership would make a difference for the Solid Waste District. I understand that recycling isn’t necessarily a cheap option, but it is good for the planet, and that’s something we are willing to invest in. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that the Solid Waste District is acting in good faith on behalf of its customers or within the confines of the contract to which they agreed. It may be time for Franklin Township to look for a more trustworthy partner, and this situation reflects very poorly on our current county commissioners.

Michelle Smith, Franklin Township

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