By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – With the town’s solid waste contract due to expire during the next fiscal year, selectmen Sept. 28 backed continuing the pay-as-you-throw program that’s been in place for over a decade.
Town Engineer Fred Litchfield came to the board seeking direction as he began to prepare next year’s budget. If the town was to make a major change, he said, now would be the time to begin that process.
However, Litchfield said pay-as-you-throw has been a success by numerous measures, including helping to reduce by 60 percent the amount of solid waste the town hauls away, which in turns means avoiding “a couple hundred thousand dollars a year” worth of costs.
Selectmen – some of whom acknowledged being strongly against the paid trash-bag approach at first – unanimously backed keeping the system in place.
“It took a while to get us dialed-in, but I think it works,” said Chair Jeff Amberson.
Town Administrator John Coderre noted that the board has taken in-depth looks at alternative approaches since the current approach was adopted in 2003. In 2011, facing a deficit in the solid waste account, the board considered switching to a system that required residents to lease trash bins at an annual cost of as much as $315. That move was dropped in the face of resident opposition.
Litchfield said more than 50 additional communities have adopted the pay-as-you-throw approach since Northborough became one of the first in the area.
“We were out in front of this,” Amberson said.
Coderre said with the current solid waste hauling contact set to expire, the town may choose to seek new bidders or could negotiate directly with the current provider, Allied Republic Services, on a new three-year contract.