Brattleboro moves forward with pay-as-you-throw system


BRATTLEBORO - At Tuesday night's meeting the Selectboard is expected to begin putting together a committee to move the town toward instituting a pay-as-you-throw trash system.

The board called the special meeting Tuesday to continue discussing the proposed FY 2015 budget, but an agenda item has been added to allow the board to develop a mission statement for the new citizens' advisory committee that will help the town develop policies for the pay-as-you-throw trash system.

In 2012 the Vermont Legislature passed Act 148, a universal recycling law which, among other things, requires municipalities to reduce waste by encouraging recycling and composting.

At the last Selectboard meeting interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland said the new state law also requires towns to transition to unit-based pricing for the disposal of solid waste.

He said Brattleboro is in a good position to begin preparing for the new pay-as-you-throw system since it has already instituted ways for residents to reduce their waste.

"This is commonly referred to pay as you throw," Moreland told the board last Tuesday. "What should be obvious after hearing some of these stipulations in the law is that Brattleboro is largely ahead of the game as a consequence of the work that has been done over the last several years."

At last Tuesday's Selectboard meeting the board voted 4-1 to hire Moss Kahler, and pay him up to $7,500 as a consultant, to help the town move forward with its pay-as-you-throw system.

Board member John Allen did not support the consulting position.

At this week's meeting the board will talk about what the citizens' committee will look like.

"We already have curbside composting. We have curbside recycling collection. We have regular solid waste collection," Moreland said. "What is missing is a system for unit-based pricing."

Under a pay-as-you-throw system renters and home owners pay for their trash pickup based on the weight or volume of their bags of waste.

Moreland explained that a pay-as-you-throw system requires a fair amount of planning. The town will have to sell the special trash bags which will appear as a revenue in the town's budget. The town also has to figure out how the trash will be labeled, how retailers deal with their trash and how the public education plan is developed.

And he said the town solid waste ordinance will probably need to be amended and new contracts will have to be worked out with Triple T, the town's waste disposal trucking service.

Moreland said the town needs Kahler to help with the project.

He said it might be quicker and easier for the town to move ahead without an ad hoc committee, using Kahler, Triple T, a few volunteers and town officials to come up with the new plan.

Kahler agreed that it might be easier and quicker for the town to proceed without an advisory committee.

But former Selectboard member Dora Bouboulis said it made sense to include citizens in the discussion early in the process

She said the committee could help with outreach and education.

"I do think an ad hoc committee is necessary," Bouboulis said. "I think having an ad hoc committee would help with the public process. I think we're just asking for it if you don't do some sort of ad hoc committee so there's a public process and people know it exists."

The board ultimately agreed to form an ad hoc advisory committee to help move the town toward a pay-as-you-throw system.

The board will begin looking for members of the new ad hoc advisory committee after settling on the committee's mission Tuesday night.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at, or 802-254-2311 ext. 279.


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