The Durham News reported it March 25, but it was just Monday that City Hall got around to formally announcing that the solid-waste department is taking over recycling duties and residents will be getting new, blue carts to put their bottles, cans and newspapers in.
Neighborhood email lists were quickly buzzing over the idea's pros and cons, but a cautionary note was struck at last night's City Council hearing on the budget for the coming fiscal year.
Employees and a co-owner of, and two attorneys for, TFC Recycling, which has handled Durham's business for the past 11 years, showed up to protest the city's plan to not renew its contract.
"To cancel this contract with TFC could very likely cause this company to close its doors, thus putting 84 people out of work," said attorney Ken Spaulding.
TFC claims that the system that the city plans to put in place, saving an estimated $340,000 per year, is based on a pilot project TFC conducted for Durham. TFC invested $300,000 in the pilot "based on belief in their continued contract," Spaulding said.
"It was made in good faith," said co-owner Michael Benedetto
Moreover, the company claims it can do the same job for less money than the city department, he said.
City council members made no response Monday night, but the situation could cycle up when the council holds budget work sessions Thursday and Friday. As the philosopher Yogi Berra said, It ain't over 'til it's over.