By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – David Snowden, management analyst and assistant to the town manager, appeared before the Board of Selectmen at their Oct. 22 meeting to present an analysis of the current Pay-As-You-Throw (PAY-T) program and to provide a recommendation for fees for FY 21 – FY 25.
The analysis had been posted in early October on the town’s website: https://shrewsburyma.gov/616/Solid-Waste.
Factoring in global recycling landscape changes and the new five-year solid waste contract, the town conducted a needs assessment to review fees and the impact of the contract with Waste Management to the tax levy.
Snowden said that the goal is to have the tax levy pay for 50 percent of the contract and the PAY-T fees absorb the other 50 percent.
“The previous contract that just ended, the cost per service didn’t match the CPI (consumer price index) levels over the years so it was financially advantageous for the town from FY2015-2019. But, regardless of collector or hauler, the town was going to see a significant increase in FY20,” Snowden stated. “Our tax levy is budgeted at 57 percent of the expenditures for the enterprise.”
Selectman James Kane and Board Chair Maurice DePalo clarified and reiterated that whichever hauler received the solid waste contract the town would experience the same issue of an increase in cost.
“The first year of this bid is about 20-percent higher than what the cost was in the last year of the previous contract,” DePalo said.
The proposal calls for an increase from $0.75 to $1.10 for a small bag and a roll that costs $3.75 will increase to $5.50, reflecting a 47-percent increase. A large bag that now costs $1.50 per bag and $7.50 per roll will increase to $2.25 and $11.25, respectively, reflecting a 50-percent increase.
The average household impact would be an estimated increase of $0.7885 per week or $41.00 per year.
He said that this is a comprehensive operating cost projection fee recommendation for FY2021-FY2025 and is based on a cross comparison of comparable communities’ programs.
Town Manager Kevin Mizikar said that the longer they wait, the higher the increase will need to be. Selectman Beth Casavant noted that the price of the bags has not been increased since the program began in 2008.
Mizikar wasn’t looking for a decision from the board at this meeting but a decision is a critical to planning the budget for next year to alleviate drastic swings in any direction. He recommended that the board make their decision no later than the end of December.
“It’s a culture shock to everyone…but I just think it’s the reality of the situation,” noted Selectman John Lebeaux.