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Latest Trash Plan Headed for a Final Vote

Selectmen in both towns are expected this week to review and discuss the latest trash collection plan that calls for one "free" trash bag every other week plus weekly recyclable and organics collection.

Editor's Note: This article has been corrected to note that the proposed program would allow one free barrel - not one free bag - every other week, the same amount that is "free" weekly right now. Additional bags could be purchased.

A final vote on a new trash collection plan is scheduled for next week by the Boards of Selectmen in both towns.

And that vote will be on a new scenario that calls for trash collection every other week combined with weekly recycling and organics collection.

The weekly recyclable collection, under the plan, would be single-stream, meaning that all recyclable material would be collected in a single container and would not need to be sorted. It would also go in a 96-gallon cart that would be provided by the town government. Organics collection would also be conducted weekly in an “appropriate size, tamper proof cart and countertop bin” provided by the town.

The trash collection would also be from a town-provided container. It would be limited to one barrel every other week and additional bags will be at a “nominal cost,” according to the latest plan under consideration. An exact cost of the extra bag has not been specified.

The full details of the latest plan - including a breakdown of existing costs versus costs under the proposed plan - were outlined in a memo from Hamilton Town Manager Michael Lombardo to the Hamilton Board of Selectmen last Wednesday. It is attached to this story as a PDF.

The latest plan came out of a “work session” run by Hamilton Selectman Marc Johnson last month, where he ran through several models for trash collection in both towns using Microsoft Excel. Johnson used various assumptions and took ideas on the plan that resulted in the latest iteration.

Previously, that would have charged a per bag fee for all trash collection.

Lombardo said on Friday that the Hamilton Board of Selectmen will be discussing and commenting on the plan . Wenham Selectmen also have it on the . Both boards meet at 7 p.m. at their respective Town Halls.

Lombardo said on Friday he will ask for a final vote by the Hamilton Board of Selectmen when it is scheduled to meet jointly with the Wenham Board of Selectmen next Tuesday.

“On Tuesday, October 11, a Joint Selectmen Meeting has been scheduled where I am asking for an affirmative vote by both boards to bring this program to fruition,” Lombardo wrote in his memo.

The latest plan is estimated to save the two towns, combined, anywhere between $170,00 and $229,000 per year.

The exact split of collection costs will be determined by Hiltz Disposal, the private hauler that is used by both towns. The “tipping fee” – the cost to dispose trash at the incinerator – will be determined by the actual amount of trash thrown out by each town.

The savings come mostly from reduced tipping fees because the program makes recycling and organics collection easier for households combined with limiting trash pickup to one “free” barrel every other week. Both components are expected to increase recycling rates, which are about 30 percent in both towns.

The existing “waste reduction program” provides one “free barrel” per week.

William McMaster October 04, 2011 at 03:56 PM
I pay $9500 a year in property taxes. I’ve lived in Wenham for 11 years. I live on a State highway so my snow removal costs are picked up by the State and that State service is paid for by my income taxes. We also have no children in the local schools and never have. As such, my $9500 a year essentially goes toward my weekly garbage collection. I’ve never complained before that the majority of my property taxes go towards the schools. But now it’s different. Now the town is reporting that they have no money for garbage collection because of the rising cost of running the schools and they want me to pay twice for my garbage collection. I already pay $9500 a year to have my garbage picked up once a week. That’s $182 a week to pick up a bag of trash curbside and take it away. Now they want me to pay again? I don’t think so. They should place a surcharge per student to cover the rising cost of education. That’s fair. Asking me to pay again for trash removal when I’m already paying $182 a week is not fair.
William McMaster October 04, 2011 at 04:00 PM
"working hard for their agenda's" That's the problem. They should be working on our agenda's and not their own agendas. I agree, respect is earned. The decisions they have made in the past and are making today don't deserve any respect. They should be ashamed of themselves. "educated society benefits all" ? no one is suggesting shutting down the schools, just tax them proportionately. "Let's keep the trash as is" -> Yes, that is what we are all saying but your honored Selectmen aren't listening to us. They work for us yet they aren't doing what they asked. They are pushing this through even though the entire town has said that this proposal is foolish.
William McMaster October 04, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Put my name on the petition as well. Selectmen you are fired.
William McMaster October 04, 2011 at 04:02 PM
I agree. It's a bad idea, it creates a vermin problem and a health risk. We are all paying for trash pickup, we always have. They need to leave things as they are.
William McMaster October 04, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Composting is not a good idea. The goverment and health control agencies strongly recommend NOT composting in rural areas. The brilliant selectmen should have done their homework before running around telling everyone to compost. Even my 11 year old nephew knows better. If you develope a breathing disorder, and someone with 1/2 of you is composting, you should hire an attorney and file a lawsuit to compensate for your health being ruined. The Selectmen are responible and liable for recommending everyone compose so they can save a buck and not pickup the garbage. Wait until our children start getting bit by the rats drawn to the composting heaps. Apparently the brilliant Selectmen didn't think about that either. This is another good example to hire an attorney and go after them.
William McMaster October 04, 2011 at 04:09 PM
You are right, they did put forth an amendment preventing the selectmen from switching to a pay as you throw plan. The Selectmen through this amendment out. They can do what they want. The rules don't apply to them. They are special.
Sue Drappers October 04, 2011 at 05:01 PM
I reviewed some of the Internet documentation relating to composting in rural areas. I frankly found the evidence to be shocking. How could the Selectmen endorse composing in a densely populated area Like Wenham? After looking at the studies, I would suggest anyone developing spore related lung, ear, nose, eye or throat conditions hire a personal injury attorney and file a lawsuit against the town of Wenham and the Selectmen. For them to suggest we begin having backyard compost heaps was completely irresponsible. Maybe a few huge lawsuits will get their attention. They have a responsibility and they acted irresponsible. This makes them liable. They are putting our health in jeopardy.
Michelle Bailey October 04, 2011 at 08:18 PM
Right now we can throw out one "large item" each week. Anyone heard that as part of the current proposal? The things I've thrown out this year include a broken beyond repair chair, broken little tikes toy (these can't be recycled) and 2 car seats (these actually expire after 6 years and can not be "reused" for safety concerns). These were truly trash, but would not fit in the 33 gal trash bag/barrel.
Sue Drappers October 04, 2011 at 10:13 PM
As everyone is aware from tonight’s voice mail emergency message from the Town of Wenham, the drinking water contains eColi and is unsafe to drink. The boiling ban is in effect until further notice. The State investigators indicated that local rural composting was a possible cause of the infected water supply. I reviewed a few online Government reports that support this finding. Apparently when people pile their garbage in their backyards and leave it there to rot as in the case of our compost heaps, the rain water washes the infected material into the lakes, streams and our water supply. The town told us to start composting several months ago. Now as a result of their negligence, our drinking water is contaminated and can kill us if we drink it. This is just another example of what happens when we blindly follow the Selectmen’s ignorant decisions. I think it time we start hiring Attorney’s and begin filing lawsuits.
Jim October 04, 2011 at 10:22 PM
What a bunch of imbeciles. According to the recorded message we aren't even suppose to use the water to wash our hands. What a nightmare these Selectman turned out to be. Why don't they just resign and leave us alone. They aren't going to be happy until we are all sick from composting and we are all broke from paying over and over again for the same service.
Mike Hannaway October 04, 2011 at 10:38 PM
I've lived here a lot of years and I've never seen a group of Selectmen screw things up like this batch. They have a lot of nerve even entering Town Hall. Their level of incompetence is unbelievable. It's like they are seriously mentally defective or something. Did someone say in another post that they volunteered for the job? Thanks but no thanks. Leave us alone. The Selectmen are a menace. Now I have to boil my water because of all garbage people have laying around their backyards in compost heaps. This isn't going green, this is going stupid. Clean the garbage out of your backyards, put it curbside and tell the town to pick it up and get it out of here. Are you going to continue composting untill our children and elderly all end up in the hospitals. Wake up and stop being a bunch of sheep. Start thinking for yourselves and stop following the Selectman's suggestions like a bunch of goats. The Selectmen are ignorant fools. They are ruining our town and ruining our heatlh.
Robert Gates (Editor) October 04, 2011 at 11:15 PM
In regards to the boil order in Wenham, here is the latest information. http://patch.com/A-m9yC If you would like to continue discussing the trash plan, please feel free. If you have something to say about the boil order, it would make the most sense if you moved to the two stories about the boil order.
Robert Gates (Editor) October 05, 2011 at 12:21 AM
Please refrain from comments where you specifically call somebody stupid. There is plenty to debate and discuss about the merits of the plan that comments do not need to involve personal attacks and name-calling.
Tracy October 05, 2011 at 01:02 AM
Hi. Just wanted to point out that the composting being discussed is curbside composting. A truck comes and picks up your garbage every week from a town-supplied plastic container with a snap lid. There is no backyard component, and therefore no interaction with rain water or the public drinking supply. They are two separate issues.
Barbara Fanning October 05, 2011 at 02:41 AM
Lol about the weekly garbage collection. I remember when the garbage man came once a week to collect it here in town..It was VERY stinky...I'm very concerned about the barrel being collected every other week. We have one full barrel at the end of the week -and its heavy for me. I can't imagine how heavy two weeks worth of rubbish would be. Its such a major decision here -I can't believe they wouldn't put it to town meeting. And the composting causing allergic reactions is very scary...
Sue Drappers October 05, 2011 at 09:50 AM
You're absolutely right Barbara. In the summer especially, can you imagine the flies and the smell of having garbage next to our homes for two weeks. This would also attract mice and rats that will find their way into our homes. And you're also right that the composting is very bad idea. Spore born illnesses from composting can be deadly. Once again the Selectman didn't put even the slightest amount of thought into this proposal. The Selectmen are going to shut their doors and have a private vote on this next week. Now's the time for everyone to e-mail our Selectmen and let them know that they are not to vote this proposal through. Here is their e-mail information. Molly Martins, Chair mmartins@wenhamma.gov John Clemenzi Vice-chair jclemenzi@wenhamma.gov Patrick Wilson, Secretary pwilson@wenhamma.gov
Michelle Bailey October 05, 2011 at 03:36 PM
Agreed, the selectmen are also our neighbors. Each of them give a tremendous amount of time to administering to the town business. It is ok to criticize their decisions and processes, but not to criticize their character on-line.
Nick October 08, 2011 at 03:15 PM
The immediate solution for many of course will be to toss their trash on the side of the road, so what we may "save" in trash pickup will be more than lost in extra costs to the DPW to go around picking up said trash. The scarier side of the issue is that this program is being rammed down our throats by a handful of power crazed zealots - maybe we should toss our garbage on their front lawns!! Sounds like taxation without representation to me
Dick Hewett October 10, 2011 at 08:54 PM
If I remember correctly, it wasn't so long ago that folks here were saying, some quite forcefully, that the town needed to save money. There were also some extremely vitriolic comments about the perceived spending habits of previous selectman, including one in particular, and a big campaign to get selectmen elected who would save the town money. Now they have been elected they are doing just that. Isn't it what we all voted for?
Jim October 10, 2011 at 10:30 PM
No, being charged twice to pick up a can of garbage is not the same as saving money. We pay for this service already through our taxes. This is a fact. They want to charge us a second time and hide behind the excuse that it's good for the planet. That's charging us twice. So the answer to your question is no, we absolutely did not vote for this or anything even close to this. Charging us twice for the same service is dishonest, plan and simple. It's not even close to saving money.
Dick Hewett October 10, 2011 at 11:15 PM
I think it could be regarded as saving money for the town which is the reason they were elected. I don't think being green is the reason. We might pay for this service already through our taxes, but being realistic, if taxes won't cover it then someone has to pay and at the moment it looks like we have to, otherwise we get no service at all.
Mike Hannaway October 10, 2011 at 11:17 PM
Dick, the pay for trash pickup is not the same as them trying to save us money. Whether it's double charging for garbage collection, beginning to charge for leaf collection or increasing our property taxes, charging us more for services is the opposite of saving money. We want them to do more with what they have, not ask us for more money.
Sue Drappers October 10, 2011 at 11:22 PM
You said it exactly. We are already paying for this through out taxes. Double charging us is not the answer. Why don't they have enough money? Our taxes go up every year to meet the increase in good and services. There isn't a reason in the world that they should be short of money. Other towns know how to balance a budget. Would you go into a restaurant and pay twice for a meal? Of course not. It's wrong plain and simple.
Michelle Bailey October 11, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Mr. Hewett, you're right that some have "quiet forcefully" demanded the town save money. Many quieter voices want to maintain quality-of-life services, look at Wenham Town Meeting approving loose leaf pick-up. The opposition to the new trash proposal is the sound of the usually quiet majority drowned out the "quite forceful" voices.
john October 11, 2011 at 12:19 AM
I am not so sure what is so hard to understand here. They are talking about saving a very tiny amount on a very tiny piece of the budget and taking services away from the taxpayer. If they really want to cut spending, cut it from where the majority of the money goes.
Sue Drappers October 11, 2011 at 09:33 AM
Exactly, well put John. They've stated that two thirds of the budget goes to the school system. That's where they would find the biggest savings. Everyone seems to think the schools are off limits regarding budget cuts, they aren't. Stop wasting time staring at that one can of garbage and go after the big fish.
Ron Powell October 11, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Isn't the compromise that would make everyone happy not obvious? Keep everything in the revised plan, except continue weekly trash collection and limit residents to one 30 gallon bag per week. Residents can place the bag in the 96-gallon barrels to protect it from varmints. Charge residents a $1.75 fine for each additional bag. Have the haulers themselves issue the fines; the haulers simply don't collect trash from residents who don't pay the fine.
Sue Drappers October 11, 2011 at 06:04 PM
They should leave it as it is, forget about the plan, forget about the compromise and move on. When is this going to vote? Didn't they say this was going for a town vote in November?
Ron Powell October 11, 2011 at 06:20 PM
To answer your question, two-thirds of your taxes don't go towards the schools. Two-thirds of your *local* taxes go towards the schools, because school spending, unlike Medicare, Social Security, etc. is handled locally. In fact, only a tiny sliver of our taxes go toward the schools -- the biggest chunk of our taxes go towards Medicare and Social Security payments, which primarily benefit seniors and retirees. So while a part of your taxes supports the education of other people's children, a portion of their taxes goes to support still other people's Social Security and Medicare. Or to pave roads or provide police and fire protection when you need it. You benefit from other people's taxes just like they benefit from yours. Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.
Ron Powell October 11, 2011 at 11:38 PM
That really does not make any sense, "Sue." The "compromise" would leave everything as it is, except that residents would no longer have to separate glass, plastic, and paper recyclable materials, and would cut trash collection costs by at least $100,000 for both Towns. Also, it would make the curbside organic recycling program permanent, so residents would no longer need to compost in their yards. To summarize: 1) same weekly trash collection 2) no longer have to separate recyclable materials 3) cut costs by more than $100,000 4) no more compost heaps in your neighbors' back yards There is something to be said for consistency when it makes sense, but a foolish consistency is just plain rubbish. (Nyuck, nyuck.)

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