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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.

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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