WVN Newsletter #174: Public dumps on Landfill changes
- 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
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
-- Hold well-advertised public hearings before adopting
-- Base landfill fees on actual usage, not "expanded capacity
-- Discontinue the $50 pickup surcharge and refund it to anyone
who has already paid.
Some residents gathered later and discussed other responses.
-- Tell friends and neighbors with pickups to refuse to pay the
-- 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
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
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
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