The Board is debating a 10-year contract, which many members of the audience and a few Board Members thought was a bit excessive. Many of the surrounding communities near Stoneham have a one-barrel system of recycling but do not have 10-year contracts. “I would not feel comfortable forcing families into a jam over the number of allotted barrels,” Sweeney said. “Everyone realizes that there is an issue with the way we handle trash in town. I think we should go at a slower than the pace we are on.”
The town has hired a recycling coordinator and recycling in town has increased. “I would think that before we go ahead and increase people’s trash fee over recycling, we try to exhaust all other options,” Selectman De Pinto said. “There is no reason to jump into this. An instant trash fee is just wrong. This is a good idea two years, three years down the line.” The Board argued amongst themselves over the price of a single-stream trash barrel system in town. Currently, residents pay $225 for trash services. Adding barrels would increase the price, though by how much was up for debate. “The price has been too high for too long,” Sweeney said.
The most obvious way to reduce the cost of disposal is to reduce the amount of trash sent to the incinerator. This has proved to be far more difficult than it sounds. “Do we want to reduce our trash fees or keep the same service?” De Pinto said. “You cannot have it both ways. If we want to recycle more, we can tell the people that we’re going to limit the size of their trash barrels, we can have a mandatory recycling measure: If you don’t recycle, we don’t pick up your trash. Right now our service is pretty good: Whatever you don’t want, you put out on the curb and it’s gone.”
At present, the Board has decided to go back to the drawing board, having voted “no action” at their meeting on Tuesday, October 8.