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Selectmen: Trash Revote Not Imminent As Petition Circulates

The Hamilton Board of Selectmen do not plan to discuss the new trash collection program when it holds a work session on Monday night.

Two of the Hamilton selectmen who voted say that a revote on the move is not imminent.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Jennifer Scuteri and Selectman Marc Johnson, the board member heading up the town’s new trash program, both said in recent days that plans are moving ahead to roll it out by March.

The new program, that been dubbed the SMART trash program – which stands for Saving Money and Reducing Trash – involves weekly pickup of recyclable materials and organics and biweekly trash collection of one barrel of trash at no additional charge.

The program is designed to save the town money and reduce trash while increasing the amount of waste that is recycled and goes into the bins for organics, which cost less to dispose.

Johnson and Scuteri were two of the three votes to adopt the plan in a 3-2 vote last month.

Meanwhile, a Hamilton man has started an online petition that he says he hopes gives Selectmen a sense of the opposition to the new programand support to go back to one "free" barrel per week.

Mike Massimi said he began the petition because the new trash program “has bothered me since day one,” noting his options are to complain or to act.

Massimi said he is busy with work and family commitments and does not have time to attend the Board of Selectmen meetings where it has been discussed in recent weeks but with the technology available with an online petition he was able to get it started rather easily.

“Most likely we will push for a warrant article at the next Town Meeting,” Massimi said.

Town Clerk Jane Wetson said if someone wants to put an article on the Town Meeting warrant she encourages them to first go to the Board of Selectmen and ask that it be put on the warrant.

To get an article on the warrant at Annual Town Meeting – which will be in May - 10 certified signatures are required on a petition.

If the article is to go on a Special Town Meeting warrant, 100 certified signatures are required, she said.

Johnson said that the board has not discussed the possibility that it may be presented with a petition.

“It was no secret it was something someone might do,” Johnson said, noting it was discussed by some of the attendees at work session to discuss the program this fall.

Scuteri said Friday that although the so-called SMART trash program is listed as an agenda item for the board’s Monday night work session at , she does not plan to discuss it. She said a poor cell phone connection last week resulted in a miscommunication with Town Manager Michael Lombardo and it ended up on the agenda when she did not plan for the board to discuss it this week.

“We are trying to keep our working sessions to one hour, and I think the SMART program could eat this time completely and we have other things to discuss,” she said.

The fiscal 2013 budget and the board’s goal and objectives are listed as the two other topics on the agenda at Town Hall.

“If we do revote it, it would be after we work to button down all the details” and there was a surprise that pops up and was not anticipated, Johnson said. “I’d say the 3-2 position is stable right now.”

On Sunday, the petition had 27 signatures.

Massimi said he would rather see a trash program such as the one that will be implemented in Wenham, where there is weekly collection of trash, recycling and organic materials.

“There is a reason that this is first in the state because it is not realistic,” he said. “I think we are trying to go too fast, too soon.”

Massimi said he has also lived in Georgetown and Marblehead and there were drop-off locations available to residents. With biweekly trash, he is worried about trash accumulating in his house for two weeks.

“In this town you are held hostage to the pickup date,” he said.

Massimi said although he “recycles every piece of metal, glass and plastic” and composts on his property, he still expects to put out more than one barrel of trash every two weeks, costing his money to buy additional bags, he said.

Johnson said that he has heard “the community is still unsettled” and that “a good number of people” have expressed their unhappiness with the new program.

He said the board’s vote may have happened “faster than the community’s awareness” and town officials will now work to make sure residents understand the details of the program and educate them about the changes.

Ron Powell November 30, 2011 at 12:49 AM
As I understand it, residents oppose the plan because of its biweekly trash collection component. These residents appear to endorse the plan that the Selectmen rejected, which included weekly trash collection and still managed to cut costs by $110,000 - $200,000 over what residents are now paying. To summarize, to the neutral observer, these residents seem to want to cut costs dramatically and encourage recycling without cutting existing services. Those who support the SMART plan want to cut costs dramatically and encourage recycling while reducing trash collection to biweekly.
chris a November 30, 2011 at 02:45 AM
as we all just saw at a joint meeting jeff chelgren who hopefully gets the job in nahant on dec 1st and mike lombardo who happens to live in wenham but runs hamilton it doesnt seem to care if the townspeople want this joint merger but they dont seem to care but even john clemenzi again is questioning why ? there has been two new jobs created in the last year in the wenham town hall i. personally hadn't realized the town grew so much sorry to divert the subject
chris a November 30, 2011 at 02:48 AM
one of my biggest concerns is that i have a mother in law in depends to speak frankly and its not very easy or cheap to get these out in the trash but it sure is alot cheaper than selling her house to someone with 3 or 4 kinds in the public school system where is the savings there but this is about the final push for alot of the elderly
chris a November 30, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Mr. Burnham,you might get more positive responses from most people as i've noticed if you weren't so negative with everyone that doesn't agree with you as you and I learned at a young age not everyone see's things the same as you and everyone is entiltled to their opinion, but the more you try to force people to see it your way the more their not going to because you have become a negative point to the fact try to be nice
john January 10, 2012 at 07:52 PM
So they want you to recycle yet at every turn they make it harder for you to do so. I went to the town hall today to drop off a ton of cardboard and a couple of computers. It was closed. When I got home I checked the website. From the town website: PRESS RELEASE November 22, 2011 In an effort to improve residential services and control unauthorized access, on November 21st the Hamilton Board of Selectmen voted to change the hours which the DPW Yard is open and available to residents for item drop-off. Effective Thursday, December 15, 2011 the DPW yard behind Town Hall will be closed to residents during the work week but will be open the 3rd Saturday of each month from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.

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