By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The city will switch to a municipal container system for rubbish and recycling removal this spring, a move that some officials said will raise recycling rates, but save money in trash removal fees. Funding for the project was approved at the March 12 City Council meeting, although three councilors, Council President Patricia Pope, Ward 6 Councilor Edward Clancy and Ward 3 Councilor Matt Elder, voiced concern and voted in opposition.
Under a suspension of rules proposed by Finance Committee Chair Mike Ossing, the transfer of $878,045 was approved for the purchase of containers for automated curbside trash collection. Two grants, totaling $105,000, were also approved to promote and offset the curbside containers collection. The grant funding will also provide 80 hours of technical assistance to promote the container system.
Before leaving office in late December, then-Mayor Nancy Stevens signed a five-year contract for the new program. Mayor Arthur Vigeant earlier this year asked the council to fund the outstanding obligations related to the agreement. Commenting that the procurement process was thorough, he recommended the outright purchase of the containers.
“We'se pretty much boxed in,” said Ward 1 Councilor Joseph Delano. “We can make the best of the situation and may save money in the future.”
Clancy said there are a lot of logistical problems that have not been answered and he maintained that many residents, including him, do not have a garage or adequate space to store the heavy containers. Elder said he has received many calls from constituents opposing the new process. He chastised Stevens for not seeking City Council input before entering into the agreement.
Under the new program each home will receive two containers – one for trash and one for recycling. Both will be picked up by a truck with an automated process, and will cover the city all in one day.