By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The City Council is considering a request to approve funding for the purchase of containers to be used for automated curbside collection of solid waste and recyclables. The council discussed the request, which was made by Mayor Arthur Vigeant, at its Jan. 23 meeting.
Vigeant is proposing that $303,805 be transferred from the Long-Term Debt Interest account and $574,240 from the Multi-Purpose Bond account to fund the purchase of containers from Otto Environmental Systems, Inc. The request was initiated by former Mayor Nancy Stevens in late December 2011.
When she had first introduced this change, Stevens said it would raise recycling rates and save money in trash removal fees. The new program, she added, would encourage residents to recycle more and reduce the amount of their trash.
If approved, there will be a five-year contract between the city and Allied Waste, the contractor handling the city's current system, to provide two containers (from Otto) to each household, one for trash and one for recycling. Currently the city pays a trash disposal fee by the ton. The new process calls for all trash and recycling to be picked up throughout the city in one day rather than in five days as is the current schedule.
Ward 3 City Councilor Matt Elder expressed concern that since the original agreement did not include the cost of the recycling bins, the project has now doubled in cost.
He noted that “spirited emails” had been sent to the former mayor from council members after she signed the contract without input from the council.
Councilor-at-Large Mark Oram said the heavy weight of the containers is also a concern.
“I am not certain our senior citizens will be able to handle them,” he said.
The council approved a motion to refer the issue to the Finance Committee.