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Town appoints two to new committee of Windham Solid Waste Management District

BRATTLEBORO—The Selectboard appointed board member David Schoales and Assistant Town Manager Patrick Moreland to serve on a new committee at the Windham Solid Waste Management District on Dec. 15.

The seven-member committee will investigate alternatives to how the district raises revenues from its 20-member towns.

Currently, the district uses a population-based assessment model. Brattleboro, with one of the largest populations in the district pays one of the highest assessments. This assessment allows residents of member towns to participate in district programs such as residential composting, community recycling bins, and hazardous waste collection.

The Selectboard, lead by Chair David Gartenstein, raised questions over the past year about the town’s assessment, among them, why should the town pay into the community recycling bins if it offers curbside pick of recycling?

After several contentious conversations, the district Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to create a committee to explore new models of raising revenues from member towns, such as a fee-for-service model. Under this model towns pick which programs they want to pay for.

The committee — two district staff members, three representatives from other member towns, and two Brattleboro representatives — will track and study how residents use the district’s programs. The committee will submit a report on its findings by July 1.

Town Manger Peter Elwell said the full Board of Supervisors will then consider and vote on its preferred alternative before creating the fiscal year 2018 budget.

In light of the supervisors’ actions, Elwell recommended that the Selectboard approve the district’s fiscal year 2017 budget as presented. The board unanimously approved the budget.

The board had previously urged the district to implement a fee-for-service budget for fiscal year 2017. Some supervisors, however, countered that such a move didn’t provide other member towns time to analyze how the change would impact them.

Elwell also received the board’s blessing to finalize contract details with Triple T Trucking.

Triple T contracts with the town for its curbside trash, recycling, and composting pick-up. The board is considering changing its pick-up cycle. Recycling and compost would get picked up weekly. Trash would be picked up every other week. Triple T has also asked the town to extend its contract out five years.

Changing the pick-up cycle could save the town $100,000, Elwell said.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #338 (Wednesday, January 6, 2016). This story appeared on page C4.

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