Duncannon drops Harrisburg contract over 'scumbag' comment - abc27 WHTM

Duncannon drops Harrisburg contract over 'scumbag' comment

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Duncannon Borough decided Tuesday that it will stop using the Harrisburg incinerator for trash disposal after Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson described illegal trash dumpers from Perry County as scumbags.

Borough Manager Tanuya Matter said the borough council made the decision last night to change providers after considering Thompson's comments "regarding Perry County people hauling trash to Harrisburg." 

"Since Mayor Thompson suggested that the Borough was not welcome to bring Perry County trash to Harrisburg, the Borough has since contracted with another provider at a lesser cost which it believes will alleviate a portion of the Mayor's expressed concerns. It will also save our rate payers unnecessary cost of service," Matter said. 

Matter said the borough paid $49,000 to the Harrisburg incinerator in the 2012 fiscal year. 

"We thank Mayor Thompson for calling this to our attention. We had no idea the Harrisburg Incinerator did not want our business and are pleased to announce that we have taken steps to accommodate Mayor Thompson's wishes," said Borough Manager Tanuya Matter in a press release.

During a press conference in Harrisburg on March 27, Thompson said the city was considering opening up the incinerator for a free day to try to alleviate the bulk trash problem in Harrisburg. When asked who it would be opened to, she said, "We're not opening up our flood gates for, you know, some scumbag that comes from Perry County who ... comes here and wants to dump it for free."

Thompson said that she didn't know all the details of change but was doing her job.  

"Let's just hope they'll get their needs met," she said. "My responsibility was make sure we didn't have any illegal dumpers coming into the city."

Following outrage over her initial comment, Thompson's spokesperson said in a press release that her comment had been distorted. 

"Many of the city's workers, visitors and friends come from Perry County into the city every day, and the city has a long, positive relationship with the county," interim spokesman Robert Philbin said in the statement. "The Mayor apologizes to the good citizens of Perry County for any negative connotation implied in her comments on fighting blight in the city."

Duncannon Mayor Kraig Nace said borough council should have looked into posssible cost-saving measures on their own. 

"Why didn't the Duncannon Borough Council and their appointed leadership survey rates previously or on a regular basis prior to this?," he wrote in an email. "If there is (and likely was) a money-saving deal (or deals) out there, why did it take the illustrious Mayor Thompson's comment(s) to initiate a rate/options review for the refuse customers in Duncannon!?." 

Nace said the borough has had a utility and public works committee since at least 2004 and they should have prioritized finding the cheapest rates. 

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