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WVN Newsletter #174: Public dumps on Landfill changes

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  • waylandvoters1
    Dear Wayland Voter, The Board of Health is under fire for two recent and so far unexplained changes in Landfill policy: a $50 annual surcharge for pickup
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 12, 2006
      Dear Wayland Voter,


      The Board of Health is under fire for two recent and so far
      unexplained changes in Landfill policy: a $50 annual surcharge
      for pickup trucks and an end to wood disposal. The changes hit
      customers with little warning.

      Irate residents complained at length to the selectmen Monday
      night, and nearly 20 took their complaints to the Board of Health
      meeting the next night.

      Owners of pickups described the surcharge as unfair,
      contending that many SUVs, and even sedans making multiple
      trips, can haul an equivalent amount to the Landfill. (Imagine a
      single, childless person who owns a pickup, as opposed to a
      large family that owns a sedan.) Furthermore, they said, some
      minivans and SUVs have a larger capacity than some pickups.

      Under the new rule a family with one car and one pickup will pay
      $295 annually for Landfill stickers on both vehicles.

      Other residents predicted that if the Landfill stops accepting
      wood on July 15 as planned, that waste will end up as litter
      along roads and in open areas. The current charge of $25 to
      dispose of such things as a computer terminal could also result
      in more illegal dumping, they said.

      Asked for the basis of the pickup surcharge, BoH Chair Michelle
      Wolf said, "research." Asked when the public could see it, she
      replied, "soon" (and on the Board's website).

      Another question: Since residents must buy new dump stickers
      by July 29, when will the Board discuss the customers'
      complaints and suggestions? Wolf said the next scheduled
      meeting is Aug. 11 but that she'd try to schedule an earlier
      meeting.

      Speakers gave the Board suggestions including:

      -- Allow wood disposal until the end of October and immediately
      form a committee of concerned Landfill users to investigate
      alternatives.

      -- Hold well-advertised public hearings before adopting
      regulations.

      -- Base landfill fees on actual usage, not "expanded capacity
      potential."

      -- Discontinue the $50 pickup surcharge and refund it to anyone
      who has already paid.

      Some residents gathered later and discussed other responses.
      For example:

      -- Tell friends and neighbors with pickups to refuse to pay the
      surcharge.

      -- Tell those who have paid the surcharge to demand a refund on
      the grounds that the charge is arbitrary and indefensible.

      -- Split the cost of a sticker with a neighbor and share waste
      disposal.


      Landfill user Bill Currier, who has offered a variety of ideas in the
      past on Landfill operations, outlined to the selectmen possible
      ways to continue wood disposal at reasonable expense. He
      described it as "a very necessary service." Currier said the town
      makes a profit of $18 each time it charges a resident $25 to
      dispose of an appliance or piece of electronics equipment and
      could use part of that to subsidize wood-handling.

      Currier named two companies that would accept wood from the
      Landfill for recycling. A third possibility, he said, would be to chip
      the wood and hold it in containers until it could be sold as paper
      mill fuel in northern new England.

      These procedures could be augmented with reasonable fees to
      users if necessary, he said.

      Selectmen noted that they have received phone calls about the
      matter but suggested that residents first take their complaints to
      the Board of Health, an elected body that has primary
      responsibility. No selectmen attended the Tuesday BoH
      meeting.

      When one angry Landfill user questioned whether the selectmen
      were even aware of what goes on at the Landfill, new Selectmen
      Chairman Joe Nolan was quick to respond that he uses the
      facility regularly -- with his pickup.

      The next night, when customers asked Board of Health
      members if they use the Landfill, there was no reply.

      -- Michael Short

      ================================================
      CORRECTION

      In WVN Newsletter #173, we erroneously listed WaylandeNews
      as a recipient of $90 from Save Our Services. The money in fact
      was for SOS' own email service, called eNews.

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      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor
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