Should Westborough switch to a pay as you throw household trash and recycling program, ending residents' trips to the dump?
Selectmen created an ad hoc pay as you throw study committee Tuesday night at Town Manager Jim Malloy's suggestion. The committee will have two members appointed by the board of selectmen, two members appointed by the board of health, and the town manager. Selectmen Chairman Leigh Emery said the board of selectmen would hold a public hearing on the committee's recommendations.
Malloy said pay as you throw could be part of Westborough's budget discussions for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2013.
Westborough does not offer curbside trash and recycling.
Rather, residents pay $120 for a sticker (and $60 for a second sticker) for access to a transfer station available through Westborough's contract with E.L. Harvey and Sons, according to the Westborough Board of Health website. Seniors pay half price for the stickers.
Malloy said pay as you throw is in Grafton, where he resides, as well as Northborough and Shrewsbury.
Grafton's net cost is about $376,000, while Westborough's cost is $647,000 for “roughly the same stream of waste, same population base," Malloy said. Grafton's cost has reduced "a little bit over the past three years," he said.
Malloy said that when comparing Westborough's tax rate to its neighboring communities, “we need to understand that some things are being done by a fee-based structure and some things are (through) the property tax.”
A fee-based program encourages recycling “very dramatically,” he said.
Grafton residents pay 75 cents per bag, which come in 10-packs, and “the recycling increased dramatically, and their solid waste decreased dramatically," Malloy said. Residents also receive a wheeled bin.
"We have relatively the same expenses, but they obviously generate a lot more revenue from the bags.," he said
"But the most important thing is how the expenses are split out. Ours go more toward solid waste because the recycling level is very low. Theirs goes more toward the cost of recycling portion of it, and the hauling contract.”
The ad hoc committee will meet with representatives from Grafton, Northborough and Shrewsbury; meet with E.L. Harvey representatives; and review estimated revenues and expenses, Malloy said.