By Chris Howe, Selectboard Chair
By now you all know that the price of bags went up $2.00 a bag and up $10.00 per roll, for either large or small; making it $5.00 per bag for large, $4.00 per bag for small; $25.00 per roll of large bags and $20.00 per roll for small bags. I will do my best to explain it to you.
Before I begin, let me also explain something to those who have heard that if you choose to go with a private pick up service or any other alternative trash collection, that you can not use the curbside recycling. This is NOT true. Recycling is mandated by law through Act 148 . We do still have the roll-off bins, which you are free to use and you are free to do the curbside recycling as well. On Thursday mornings Triple T will pick up the recycling, however if the pay-per-throw goes away completely, then so does curbside recycling. You can use any container, you do not have to necessarily use the green one provided for you by the town, however if you do use a different container it must be clearly marked; RECYCLE.
It was reported to us a while back by the previous Recycling Committee that the pay as you throw program was not self sufficient and the town was running a deficit. However we were also told this was a learning year and it should improve. It did not.
The new Recycling Committee came to the Selectboard meeting on Monday, Jan. 18th and reported to us that if we kept on this path, by the end of this first fiscal year we would be in a deficit of approximately $69,000. We pay for all this from the Vernon Solid Waste Fund, which would leave a projected balance as of June 30, 2016 in that fund of about $56,600. If we did nothing this year to help, the balance as of June 30, 2017 in the Vernon Solid Waste Fund would be in the negative by about $12,500. Because it looked like we were going to deplete the fund, we as a board felt it an emergency situation that needed our immediate action.
The law states that we cannot tax the taxpayers for the Pay-as-You-Throw program; thus the reason for using the Vernon Solid Waste Fund for all revenue and payments. The payments the town has made so far and will make this fiscal year from this fund is as follows; the town paid $11,996 for the bags, trash pickup at the rate of $115,264 for the 2015/2016 fiscal year. The $115,264 amount includes: $32,363 tipping fee (the cost of the landfill), $80,651 refuse collection (fees for picking up the trash), $0.00 for Recycling and $2,250 for composting. We also deduct the WSWMD (Windham Solid Waste Management District) assessment fee of $30,484 from this. The latter can be raised by taxes, the new assessment fee for fiscal 2016/17 is $26,962.25.
The board will vote tonight on whether we raise the Vernon Solid Waste Fund by this much in an article for the WSWMD assessment. Our meeting tonight is at 7:00 p.m. at the town office.
Raising the amount of the Pay per throw bags impacts us all. This was done because we felt it was our duty to save the town from the inevitable deficit. The Recycling Committee will be coming to the Selectboard meeting on February 1st, at 6:30 p.m. Please come if you can, seating accommodations will be made for everyone. You have a right to come and voice your concerns and I encourage you to do so. Please help us better help you.
PS: If you cannot make the meeting, email me, and if I cannot answer it I will bring it to the meeting and get your questions answered.