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Town contends with trash dumped illegally

NEWFANE—Town officials continue to address the issue of illegal dumping at the recycling roll-off bins in the Town Offices’ parking lot.

Administrative Assistant Shannon Meckle shared her newest research with the Selectboard at its Oct. 5 meeting.

As Meckle had told the board in previous meetings, Brattleboro deters illegal dumping at its recycling bins by posting numerous, brightly colored warning signs and monitoring the area with security cameras.

When refuse scofflaws are caught by the cameras, the Windham County Sheriff’s Department issues fines.

“They have collected enough [in fines] to pay the camera off,” Meckle said.

Board member Carol Hatcher wanted to know how Brattleboro informed the public of the dumping ordinance. She asked if there was enough outreach and education.

“Seriously,” Meckle responded, “if you went to their recycling bins and you missed the 16 pink signs that said, ‘If you dump here, you’ll be fined,’ then really, you probably shouldn’t be driving.”

“I don’t see any reason why Newfane couldn’t install cameras” and issue fines, Meckle said. She noted the fines are issued through the Judicial Bureau, and failure to pay those fines means perpetrators will have the violation linked to their driver license.

Meckle said she will contact local security companies to gather quotes for the service. She will also ask Brattleboro officials what kind of camera they use, and if it has a motion-detector.

She also told the board it would need to create an ordinance, as only a littering law is on the town’s books, “and it doesn’t really cover” illegal dumping.

Johanna Gardner, Newfane’s representative to the Windham County Solid Waste Management District (WSWMD), told the board she raised the issue at a recent WSWMD meeting.

She said the district as a whole should address Newfane’s illegal dumping problem because it extends beyond Newfane’s borders. With the town arguably having the most visible recycling bins along the Route 30 corridor, people living in or visiting other West River valley towns are likely using the area as their dump site.

Board Chair Todd Lawley asked Gardner if the district was moving forward with its rumored plan to remove the roll-off bins from use. His concern is, “Why install a camera” if the WSWMD “is removing the bins in six months?"

Gardner said she had no new information on the bins but would find out and report back.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #331 (Wednesday, November 11, 2015). This story appeared on page D2.

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