At last week’s meeting, the Board of Selectmen made minor changes to Transfer Station policies for the new year. But they charged a town committee with digging into possibilities for overhauling the way the town handles trash disposal in the future.
Department of Public Works’ Director Karen Galligan recommended keeping the trash disposal permit pricing the same this year as last.
This year, the sticker fees covered all but about $60K of the $467,000 it cost to run the Transfer Station. And this year she expects only a minor increase in cost.
As in past years, selectman John Rooney urged the board to look at a “pay as you throw” policy.
Selectman Bonnie Phaneuf said she believed that it should be explored by the Public Works Planning Board, working with the Green Committee. Galligan said the PWPB had looked at it a couple of years ago and decided they weren’t interested in moving forward.
Selectmen agreed to reissue the request to the PWPB. The committee will be asked to see what they could learn from other communities experiences. Rooney highlighted Hamilton and Duxbury as successful examples. He also asked that they investigate “getting out of the trash business all together” by moving to curbside pickup.
Selectman Dan Kolenda also asked to look at any communities that adopted the policy then changed back.
For this September, the board voted 4-1 to adopt Galligan’s recommendations. The only pricing changes will be:
- The date has been moved up for a late fee on stickers to after September 15th. (That is the date 2013 stickers expire. Last year, there was a grace period until October 1st.)
- If during the year you need to replace a sticker and you don’t have the original sticker, plus it is for a new vehicle with a new plate – it will be charged as a third sticker*.
Regarding that latter policy, Selectman Dan Kolenda pointed out that removing the old sticker is difficult. He asked if people should return a “pile of shavings”. Galligan responded shavings are fine, “We’ll take what we can get out of it to count it”.
Another change is behind the scenes. As policy notes, transfer station violation appeals are heard by the BOS or designee. In the past, appeals have been heard at BOS Meetings.
Going forward, Town Administrator Mark Purple will rule on appeals. At Purple’s request, he will be joined by 1 of the 5 selectmen at each appeal.
The decision was made immediately following a violation appeal at the start of the meeting that night. The BOS ruled against the resident based on video surveillance of the incident.
Selectman Bonnie Phaneuf followed up on this during regulation discussions. She requested that regulations inform residents they are being filmed rather than causing “Gotcha!” moments.
Chair Bill Boland suggested that letting people know would lead them to avoiding the cameras when breaking rules. Selectman Paul Cimino argued that residents have the right to know and that he would expect it to encourage following rules.
The board agreed to include that “video surveillance may be in effect at Transfer Station”.
Jim Hagerty addressed the board to suggest that the current surveillance is “useless”. He claimed that the camera can’t see license plates of vehicles right in front of the disposal area. He encouraged the board to invest in updating the equipment.
Hagarty estimated that fines imposed to improved surveillance would pay for the upgrade. Galligan said she would look into it.
*Update (8/1/14 10:40 am): In writing about the 2014-15 policies today, I realized I misinterpreted Galligan’s explanation. When she said “third sticker”, I misunderstood, and wrote, as “new sticker”. That’s a major difference, since a 3rd permit only costs $50.