Advanced Disposal handles the collection of refuse and recyclables in Millcreek Township.  It's starting the third year of a five year contract.

The company has Millcreek, but General Manager Ed Yahner has been keeping his eye on the neighboring City of Erie.  With its current budget problems, the city may think about privatizing its garbage and recycling service.  According to Yahner, Advanced Disposal would jump at the chance to have the job.

"I think it would be very attractive to any waste hauling and recycling company to do that because it's a nice opportunity.  It's a big area.  A lot of residents.  It's a very solid community.  We would love to have the opportunity one day if it ever presents itself,” he said.

The bulk of the city's budget consists of salaries, benefits, and pensions.  However, many citizens may object to the city eliminating the jobs of longtime employees. Yahner says Advanced Disposal would hire those workers, and treat them well, because those employees already know the routes and the customers.

"They would be very beneficial and probably extremely critical to the success of any company that would be part of that privatization process,” he said.

Erie City Councilwoman Liz Allen is already thinking about next year's city budget.  She has a crate full of papers and folders that deal with city finances past, present, and future.   But, she's looking forward to council hiring a consultant as part of the state's Early Intervention Program. The consultant will come up with ways the city can straighten out its financial problems in the years to come. 

"I don't think we should go in with any preconceived notions and say we're going to privatize.  I really am relying on what the Early Intervention consultants come up with,” says Allen.

A final vote by city council to enter the Early Intervention Program will be held next week.

This year's city budget was $11 million in the hole before spending cuts and fee hikes balanced it out.