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Harrison to Experiment With New Garbage Truck

HARRISON, N.Y. – Harrison will be experimenting with a new automated garbage truck that Mayor Ron Belmont said will save the town money on labor.

Belmont, speaking at a League of Women Voters luncheon at the Harrison Public Library on Thursday afternoon, said that an automated garbage truck would cost between $280,000 and $300,000, but since the new truck would only need one worker rather than the three that the town currently uses on its garbage routes, Belmont said that the reduction of the workforce would save $200,000 annually per route.

Former Mayor Joan Walsh, who was also at the luncheon, said that during her administration over the past four years the town dropped down to seven garbage routes opposed to the eight the town was using before she took office in 2008. Though the town will be cutting back on the number of DPW workers used on the new garbage trucks, Belmont said that there will not be any layoffs due to people retiring or being out sick.

“We are trying to ease the burden for our sanitation workers which we think is the right direction to go in,” Belmont said. “The wear and tear on the men working is horrendous. We have a gentleman who was a star athlete at Harrison High School who is now in his mid-40s that is on workman’s compensation because he can’t do the work anymore. Hopefully this will help eliminate that problem in the future.”

Belmont said that he followed a similar garbage truck used in White Plains recently to see how it works. He also observed an automated garbage truck in Woodbridge, N.J., a town with four times the population of Harrison. Belmont said he saw that the truck was able to move down narrow streets with plenty of cars on them.

Recycling in town would also improve if the town decides to use the automated truck after its indefinite experimental period, Belmont said. Currently the town has dual stream recycling but the new truck will allow the town to use a single stream.

“They don’t have one of these trucks in Rye or Port Chester so Harrison should be at the forefront,” Belmont said. “Who knows how much longer workers will even be allowed to ride on the back of the trucks. They can’t even ride on the back on fire trucks anymore. It may take several years but this is going to work.”

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