Trash hauler, North Catasauqua to square off in court
A trash hauler is crying foul over a Northampton County borough's decision to back out of a new five-year contract only weeks after approving it.
J.P. Mascaro & Sons, of Allentown, and the borough of North Catasauqua will be in Northampton County Court at 11 a.m. Tuesday for a hearing before retired Lehigh County Judge Lawrence J. Brenner to try to resolve the matter.
North Catasauqua Borough Council unanimously voted to award Mascaro a new contract on Feb. 12, but decided to rescind the contract two weeks later and seek new bids.
Borough solicitor Bill McCarthy told WFMZ.com on Wednesday that he expressed misgivings about council awarding the contract to Mascaro on Feb. 12, because Mascaro's bid was not the lowest of the two bids received by the borough.
McCarthy said Advance Disposal Services, of Trenton, N.J., submitted a
$1,001,691 bid, and Mascaro's was $1,036,460 -- about $35,000 higher.
He said council was within its rights to change course on Feb. 26 "because there was no written contract."
Mascaro disagrees, saying the Advance Disposal Services bid was invalid -- a position McCarthy takes issue with.
Mascaro asked for an injunction against the borough's decision to seek new bids last Friday in Northampton County Court. But the company's request was denied on Monday by Judge Michael J. Koury, who instead scheduled the March 19 hearing before Judge Brenner.
Mascaro said in its court filing that after council awarded the contract on Feb. 12, the company began allocating extra equipment and manpower to handle new recycling services, along with the distribution of 1,100 recycling bins.
Also, Mascaro printed 1,100 copies of an informational flyer for borough households explaining the single-stream curbside recycling that was supposed to start on March 1, and had a performance bond prepared and paid for.
Mascaro has been the borough's trash hauler since the latter part of 2007, when it was awarded a five-year contract, according to Mascaro's court filing.
With that contract coming to an end, the borough advertised for bids last November. On Dec. 11, when they were opened, McCarthy said Advance Disposal Services and Mascaro turned in the two lowest, $1,072,423 and $1,151,640, respectively -- only $80,000 apart.
But council declared the bids invalid because of some missing paperwork and decided to re-advertise, McCarthy said.
Mascaro continues to collect garbage in North Catasauqua. With the
2007 agreement set to expire on Dec. 31, a member of Borough Council contacted Mascaro and asked the company to continue collecting until a new contract was awarded, according to court papers.
WFMZ.com reached out to Mascaro's attorneys, but our call was not returned.
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