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TOWN OF PITTSFORD REFUSE DISTRICTS

A Refuse District is a designated area in which a single refuse collector services all households in the district.  The Town would request bids for all districts and negotiate a contract. The cost of the service would be added to the property tax bill of each resident in the Refuse District as a special district charge, in the manner of the existing sewer districts and lighting districts.
 
Eligibility to form a Refuse District
Typically, a refuse district consists of a group of adjoining streets; a formal neighborhood association or group is not necessary for setting up a refuse district.
 
Setting up a Refuse District and setting the boundaries of the district are entirely up to the residents of a district. The residents decide the boundaries of the district, then inform the Town of their decision.  The Town will guide interested residents through the process.  State law requires homeowners who want a refuse district to sign a petition and have it notarized.  The Town can assist with notarizing petitions. Petitions from homeowners of at least 50% of the aggregate assessed value of homes in the proposed district are required to form a Refuse District.  See below “How to Form a Refuse District.”
 
Cost to Be in a Refuse District:
The charge for refuse collection can vary year to year. Since the refuse collection service is competitively bid and awarded to the lowest responsible bidder meeting the bid specifications, cost per household is expected to be lower than the price individual homeowners could obtain on their own.  Before creating any refuse district, the Town will notify all residents of the proposed district of what they would pay.  Residents would then have the opportunity to reconsider and withdraw their petitions, if they wish to do so, by a specified date.  The Refuse District then would be created if, after all petition withdrawals have been noted, homeowners of at least 50% of the aggregate assessed value of homes in the proposed district wish to proceed.
 
Option for Special Services: for residents who now pay extra for services such as collection of trash from close to the house rather than curbside and low-volume service, the Town will seek arrangements with the selected hauler to continue such services at the same or substantially similar price.  This would be done through bid specifications.
 
Advantages of a Refuse District:

  • Potentially lower cost to residents for trash collection because:
  • Competitive bidding
  • Lower administration costs for the trash hauler: only sends one bill – to the Town, instead of hundreds or thousands.  Doesn’t have to chase late payments.
  • No sales tax
  • Rates are set for the year
  • Town can negotiate favorable contract renewal options
  • Reduce garbage truck traffic on residential streets to one visit, once a week
  • Bulky refuse pickup and pickup of appliances, including refrigerators, is included at no extra charge
  • The Town will advocate for residents in the case of complaints that the refuse collector doesn’t resolve

Disadvantages of a Refuse District:

  • Experience in places with Refuse Districts has been that costs for homeowners are lower.  But there is no guarantee of this in future years.
  • To cover the cost of administering refuse districts, the Town must include a fee in the District charge of up to 5% of the contract price.
  • The homeowner cannot choose a collector – the Town awards the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.
  • Some additional services not covered in the Town’s contract with the refuse collector must be negotiated between the homeowner and the refuse collector, most likely for an additional fee.
  • All homeowners would have to pay for refuse collection for the entire year – service cannot be stopped and restarted for those who go out of town seasonally.
  • All homeowners in a district must participate once the district is adopted.

Responsibilities
THE TOWN:

  • Competitively bids for the service
  • Administers the contract
  • Bills residents for services as part of the annual tax bill
  • Addresses complaints that the hauler doesn’t resolve

THE REFUSE HAULER:

  • Picks up refuse and recyclables on a weekly basis
  • If notified in advance picks up reasonable amounts of bulky refuse
  • Bills the Town for services
  • Notifies the homeowner of necessary information such as hauler’s phone number and collection day

THE HOMEOWNER:

  • Separates recyclables from trash
  • Secures the lids of trash receptacles
  • Calls ahead for bulky pickups
  • Calls the collector first with any problems
  • Calls the Town if problems aren’t appropriately resolved by the collector

How to form a Refuse District for your neighborhood

If your neighborhood is interested in creating a Refuse District:

  1. Talk to your neighbors to define the district. Decide what streets you wish to include.
  1. Contact Renee McQuillen of the Town Department of Public Works at 248-6253. The Town will provide petition forms, as required by State law, each with a map showing the district boundaries proposed by the neighborhood. 
  1. Obtain petition signatures from homeowners in the proposed district representing at least fifty percent of the aggregate assessed value of all properties in the district. The Town will assist with notarizing signatures and helping you complete the process.
  1. Petitions should be submitted to the Town Department of Public Works by April 30. The Town then will issue a competitive bid for refuse collection for all proposed districts. Once the lowest responsible bidder is chosen, the Town will advise each household of the annual cost.
  1. For all proposed districts whose residents wish to proceed, the proposed districts will be presented to the Town Board for a public hearing and a vote on adopting the districts.
  1. Services would begin January 1 following adoption of a district.
  1. The Town will bill district residents annually on their Town tax bill. District residents no longer would receive a bill directly from the waste hauler.
  1. For residents who now pay extra for special services, such as collection of trash and recycling from close to the house rather than curbside, the Town will seek arrangements with the selected hauler to continue such services at the same or substantially similar price.
  1. The Town would consider new districts each year, with petitions to be filed between January 1 and April 30.  

 
Those interested in forming a refuse district in their neighborhood may contact Renee McQuillen in the Department of Public Works at 248-6253.  Questions or comments about refuse districts or the process of getting one can be directed to Supervisor Smith at bsmith@townofpittsford.org or 248-6220.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Refuse District?
A Refuse District is a designated area in which the Town provides refuse collection to residents through a contracted service provider.  The cost of the service is added to the property tax bill of each resident in the Refuse District as a special district charge.
 
Will the Town be creating Refuse Districts for all neighborhoods in the Town?
No – setting up a Refuse District and setting the boundaries of the district are entirely up to the residents of a district.  The Town will guide interested residents through the process and can assist with notarizing petitions, as State law requires.
 
How is a Refuse District area determined?

  • The homeowners in a neighborhood determine the area for the proposed district by discussing options with their neighbors.  Setting up a Refuse District and setting the boundaries of the district are entirely up to the residents of a district.  The Town is available for consultation, if desired.
  • Once the neighborhood determines a proposed area for the district, a representative contacts the Town of Pittsford.  The Town will create a map of the district area proposed by the neighborhood and send it, along with a petition form, to each homeowner in the proposed district. 
  • The Town will guide interested residents through the process and can assist with notarizing participant petitions.  Petitions from homeowners of at least 50% of the aggregate assessed value of homes in the proposed district are required to form a Refuse District.  See also “How to Form a Refuse District” above and petition process and notarization information below.

Who can form a Refuse District?
Typically, a refuse district consists of a group of adjoining streets; a formal neighborhood association or group is not necessary for setting up a refuse district. 
 
What is the cost to be in a Refuse District?
The charge for refuse collection can vary year to year. Since the refuse collection service is competitively bid and awarded to the lowest responsible bidder meeting the bid specifications, cost per resident is expected to be lower than the price individual homeowners could obtain on their own.
 
Can a household opt out of a Refuse District?
Once a Refuse District is created, everyone in the District will use the same trash hauler and will be assessed a District charge on the tax roll. 
 
Are there options for special services?
The Town’s bid specifications will seek to preserve special services arrangements, such as collection of trash from close to the house rather than curbside and low-volume pickup (once every other week) for those who desire it.  Experience in other places that have refuse districts suggests that suspending service seasonally is not likely to be available as an option. The Town will seek arrangements with the selected hauler to continue special services at the same or substantially similar price as residents in the district currently pay. Any fees for such additional services would be payable by the resident directly to the refuse hauler.  Some special services – such as collecting reasonable amounts of bulky refuse if notified in advance by the resident – will be included in the Town contract.
 
How does the petition process work?

  • A neighborhood representative notifies the Town that neighborhood residents are interested in forming a Refuse District and affirms the streets to include in the District.
  • The Town mails a petition and map of the proposed district to each homeowner in the proposed district.
  • Each homeowner desiring a District signs their petition and has it notarized (see below regarding notarization options).  For homes that are jointly owned, the signature of one owner will suffice.
  • Homeowners return their signed and notarized petitions to the Town via mail or dropping it off at Town Hall to the Department of Public Works.

What are the options for getting a petition notarized?

  • The Town can hold a “Petition Signing Day” in the neighborhood, providing a notary at a specific location so homeowners may come to sign their petitions and have them notarized.  A neighborhood representative would need to contact Renee McQuillen of the Town Department of Public Works at 248-6253 to request this service.
  • Individual homeowners may come to Town Hall (11 South Main Street) during regular office hours (9:00am – 5:00pm weekdays) to sign their petition and have it notarized.
  • Homeowners in the proposed district may opt to use a notary of their own choosing. 

The Town is committed to working with each neighborhood to make the petitioning/notarizing process as simple and easy as possible.