By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – At the Board of Selectmen’s Sept. 24 meeting Town Manager Kevin Mizikar proposed an adjustment to the solid waste and recycling routes slated to go into effect Monday, Oct. 21. The adjustment is to help mitigate the disproportionate routes affecting primarily those on the Thursday schedule with roughly 2,600 households. The other four days of the week have over 500 fewer households.
“Thursdays constantly linger into the evening hours of 5:30 or 6 p.m. which not only challenges the residents to know whether or not their trash was picked up for the day because it was a little later than normal, but this time of the year and as we move into future weeks it gets a little darker and it’s not safe to be out there,” Mizikar explained.
After a lively discussion, the selectman voted to adopt the adjustment, four to one. Selectman Jim Kane was the dissenting vote.
Kane was not confident that Waste Management would successfully manage this adjustment based on their less than stellar performance at the start of their contract. He also noted the disruption and inconvenience that this will have to those affected.
“I’m thinking that with the Thursday routes, if we don’t change them and we have daylight savings and change the clocks shortly, we are going to have trucks in the dark, particularly on Thursdays…. I’m concerned about what turns into nighttime pickups and I’d like to eliminate that as much as I can,” stated Selectman John Lebeaux.
Board Chair Maurice DePalo agreed “but I think we need to give [Waste Management] the opportunity to fix it…But we need to look at our relationship with them if they can’t make this work.”
Kane added: “I give Kevin so much credit for having the guts to bring this forward, but I don’t think our residents should change a single thing in their life until these guys prove that they can live up to their contract.”
This adjustment will redistribute 886 households to bring collections closer to an average of 2,036 per day, according to Mizikar.
Mizikar noted that communication is key. Beginning immediately, a number of approaches will be taken to get the word out to those affected which include social media, hand-delivered fliers and code red messaging. Again, residents are reminded to have items at the curb by 7 a.m. for collection.
Residents can contact the Department of Public Works at 508-841-8502 or email email@example.com with any questions or concerns. A website has also been created with information: http://shrewsburyma.gov/RouteChanges2019.