Fiscal watchdog says $3,700 per solar trash compactor is too much

    Philadelphia’s City Controller says the city was ripped off when it bought solar powered trash compactors. The mayor and streets commissioner see it differently.

    On April 30, 2009 the City of Philadelphia announced the installation of 500 BigBelly solar-powered trash compactors.
    Philadelphia’s City Controller says the city was ripped off when it bought solar powered trash compactors.  The mayor and streets commissioner see it differently.

    Controller Alan Butkovitz says the city paid too much for the solar trash compactors that replaced wire baskets on street corners.

    “We found that big belly solar provided false information to the city by stating it was the only source able to sell the product to the city we also found the city could have saved 200 thousand dollars or more by purchasing the units from a distributor than by buying it from big belly solar”

    Philadelphia Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson says she disputes the controllers’ allegations on price and performance of the compactors

    “We paid less than anything that manufacturer offered to anyone else.”

    A spokesman for the company that provided the compactors says the report is full of inaccuracies and denies any misrepresentations to the city.  Tolson says the compactors have saved the city money since they need to be emptied one third as often compared to regular trash baskets.

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