Selectmen approve two adjustments to mandatory trash plan

Feb 16, 2021

The Board of Selectmen approved two avenues for people to save money on town trash disposal: A senior discount and an opt-out form for those with other means of disposing of trash. Discounts for seasonal residents were discussed but not finalized at the Feb. 16 meeting.

Senior discount

Low-income seniors can reduce their curbside fee from $365 to $245 or a transfer station sticker from $125 to $62.50. 

To qualify, applicants must show proof of fixed income that doesn’t exceed $33,320 for an individual or $38,080 for a couple. Proof could be a copy of an applicant’s most recent tax returns, a Massachusetts Schedule CB Circuit Breaker Tax Credit form or qualification for Clause 41C Elderly Persons.

Sullivan noted that those who chose the transfer station could further reduce costs by diligently recycling or even composting to reduce the amount of trash to be disposed of in pay-as-you-throw bags that are sold separately.

“I think this actually addresses the things we were very concerned about, which is [that] our most vulnerable senior citizens have an opportunity to certainly reduce the cost of the service,” said Selectman Judith Whiteside. 

She also suggested that the form be included with Meals on Wheels to help spread the word to those who may not have access to the internet.

“We’re trying to save money for the seniors. They have the toughest time,” Selectman Patrick Tropeano said.

The applications for senior discounts will be kept confidential by the town.

‘Other means’ opt-out

The board also approved a form that would allow people to opt-out of town trash service by other means. That application is for people who can dispose of waste at their personal business, their job or part-time residents who bring their trash home with them when they leave. The application requests an explanation of where people will dispose of their trash.

Sullivan said that explanations like “I put my trash in my neighbor’s barrel” or “My friend takes my bags to the dump” would not be accepted as that still means the applicant is using town trash services.

Applicants also need to include documentation proving their claim, such as a trash disposal invoice from another location or permission to use company trash disposal on company letterhead.

The board unanimously approved the senior discount and opt-out forms. 

Selectman Patrick Tropeano noted that the town will diligently work to catch and prosecute those who illegally dump waste.

Sullivan said that a third fee adjustment option for seasonal residents is still in the works. Teitelbaum said a seasonal curbside discount made sense, but said that transfer station stickers should not be discounted as that sticker covers the cost of running the station. 

Tropeano said that seasonal curbside pick-up could be problematic if people leave barrels out all week. Selectman Alan Slavin said that the town could see if a Saturday pick-up would be possible, as is the case in Rochester.

The board voted not to give seasonal residents a discount on transfer station access. The selectmen said their decision about a potential discount on curbside pick-up for seasonal residents would be dependent on the finances of the program as a whole.

The town will work to open the transfer station on Sunday, but that process could take some time as it would need to be approved by Rochester, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the workers.

Those who sign up for curbside pick-up will be able to request additional containers if they need to dispose of more waste than can be accommodated in the included 64-gallon trash barrel and 96-gallon recycling barrel. An extra 64-gallon trash bin costs $95 per year and an extra 96-gallon recycling bin costs $105 per year.