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Town to back closing of regional recycling facility

GUILFORD—The town will vote against the Windham Solid Waste Management District continuing to operate a materials recovery facility in Brattleboro.

In the WSWMD Board of Supervisors’ Nov. 10 vote on municipal assessments for the district, Selectboard member Troy Revis — the town’s alternate representative on the regional board — has been directed to vote for the “50/50 model” of assessments to member towns.

During the Oct. 24 regular Selectboard meeting, Cheryl Franklin, the town’s WSWMD representative, made recommendations for the vote.

Franklin told board members that she won’t be able to attend the meeting and asked the board to direct Revis to vote according to her suggestions.

The WSWMD board analyzed the assessment method this past year in response to some towns, including Brattleboro, asking for a funding model that is fairer than the current one, in which towns pay in proportion to their respective populations.

This population assessment model, in use since the organization’s founding in 1988, doesn’t account for part-time residents, such as second-home owners, critics say.

In response, the board’s work committee came up with a few alternatives, including “fee for services,” which was dismissed, assessing a town’s fees by the number of housing units, by the grand list, and a split — either 50/50 or 75/25 — between assigning fees according to the population and the grand list.

According to data supplied by the WSWMD, the split model would mean savings for many towns, including Guilford.

By discontinuing the materials recovery facility, the WSWMD would remove all recycling roll-off bins at the eight towns with transfer stations and the nine towns with drop-off boxes available anytime, but would keep the recycling bins at its Old Ferry Road location.

The eight WSWMD transfer station towns would have to contract with private waste haulers to place and haul roll-off bins at the transfer stations.

The nine towns with around-the-clock sites would have the option of hiring private haulers to replace the WSWMD bins, or instructing residents to hire a trash hauler to collect their recyclables at the curb, or purchase a permit from WSWMD to use their transfer station and recycling bins on Old Ferry Road.

The Selectboard agreed, voting unanimously in favor of Franklin’s suggestions, minus the absent Revis and Gabrielle Ciufredda.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #382 (Wednesday, November 9, 2016). This story appeared on page C1.

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