Windham Solid Waste budget goes to boards

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BRATTLEBORO &mdash The Windham Solid Waste Management District Board of Supervisors is giving the budget another month of review.

For the second year in a row, the board is looking at two versions of a budget. One would continue the district's materials-recovery facility or MRF. The other would not.

"The Board of Supervisors decided to send both those budgets on to the select boards for their opinion," said Lou Bruso, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. "One of the draft budgets is a budget which is based off doing current operations like the way we've been doing it for a long time now. The other budget is based on stopping the recycling collection and turning it over to the private sector."

The second option would see the district remain a district. But, services would be limited. Education and hazardous waste collection would continue along with the convenience center. The pickup of recycling and trash from district drop-off bins and member towns' transfer stations would not.

Member towns will be receiving the two versions of the budget this week. Bruso expects to have the documents and a cover letter sent out to boards by Tuesday. Each town will see how its assessment would look under the two scenarios, then select boards can recommend one of the options.

Last year, the district gave member towns an 11 percent decrease in their assessments. This year's assessment will be higher.

"We were trying to live under a budget we could sustain but it turns out we can't," Bruso said, explaining that the latest budget for continuing with the MRF is a 4.5 percent increase over the budget approved two years ago.

Towns with transfer stations will be getting quotes from their haulers on what it would cost to put recycling boxes at their facilities, according to WSWMD Executive Director Bob Spencer. Recycling is required under state law.

A no-MRF budget will mean drops in assessments for towns that already have private hauling agreements or transfer stations. But towns with transfer stations will need come up with money to offer new recycling services.

Also on the table is a change in the way member towns are assessed. The Brattleboro Select Board has already voted in support of going from a model based on population alone to a 50/50 split between population and grand lists.

With six votes on the Board of Supervisors, Brattleboro has a big influence on decisions within the district. If the formula for assessments is changed, towns with more seasonal residences can expect higher assessments than in the past.

The Board of Supervisors will meet on Nov. 10.

"We've already got our budget prepared," Bruso said. "So on that date, we'll decide which budget we're going to be recommending."

Call Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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