Last night, resident Jack Barron presented his citizen petition article to the Board of Selectmen. The Warrrant Article seeks to allow residents discount access to the recycling area of the Transfer Station.
Most weren’t opposed to the concept. But much of the discussion hinged on whether or not the decision was one Town Meeting voters could make.
According to own counsel, Aldo Cipriano, if the warrant passes it would be advisory only.
Cipriano stated that the regulations are managed by selectmen, not Town Meeting. Chair Bill Boland summed up:
Town Meeting does not dictate the operational aspects of departments.
Barron suggested that if Town Meeting voters supported the article, he would expect selectmen to follow their will. As for their right to ignore the vote, he rebutted:
I guarantee you if it came up in court with fact finders, they may find a different decision.
Barron pitched his proposal for a $25 access sticker. He reminded the board that he asked them to come up with a solution a year and a half ago.
He has been seeking recycling access for residents who use private trash haulers. Last night, he reminded the board that access will allow more residents to recycle and to support town charities that cash bottle and can returns.
In response to arguments he has heard about monitoring costs, Barron had an operational suggestion. He recommended that the “recycling only” permit access be limited to 4:00 – 6:00 pm on Saturdays. At that point, a sign would be put up, and traffic cones would be used to redirect and restrict access.
Public Works Planning Board Chair Desiree Aselbekian told selectmen her board opposes the bylaw. The board is seeking to go further than Barron. They have recommended eliminating fees to allow full access for all residents. (The cost would be covered by taxes.)
The BOS voted to oppose the article. But the vote was split with varying stances.
Boland opposed taking the decision away from the board.
Selectman John Rooney said his vote was in ongoing opposition to how the Transfer Station is run. He predicted that he will also vote against the Public Works recommendations later in the spring. (Rooney has long pushed for a move to a Pay as You Throw model, which the Public Works Planning Board doesn’t support.)
Selectman Paul Cimino voted in support. Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf was absent.
Selectman Dan Kolenda abstained. He supported the concept but wanted more information on how it could work.
Kolenda urged Barron to sit down with DPW Head Karen Galligan. Barron said he wouldn’t have time prior to Town Meeting.