Potential new trash program unveiled in Everett
EVERETT – Mayor Carlo DeMaria officially unveiled a new waste management proposal to a packed crowd at City Hall last Wednesday. The new proposal, soon to be sent to the City Services Commission, streamlines the method in which the City picks up trash for both residential and commercial properties.
[pullquote style=”right”]Click here to read Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s Guest Op-Ed about the trash program[/pullquote]
“This proposal is a tremendous benefit to the City and also helps the residents,” notes Mayor Carlo DeMaria, “for the City, it’s finding a way to decrease costs related to waste disposal, and it’s a way to help keep our streets and neighborhoods cleaner. And of course we want to make the process an easy transition for the residents.”
The Mayor highlighted his displeasure with the costs related to disposal, the amount the city seems to be throwing away, and the significant amount of trash that ends up on the street. Mayor DeMaria was happy with the turnout at the public meeting, as well as the response from the recent mail campaign.
“It’s great to see that we are a community that cares” offered Mayor DeMaria, “we received close to 500 replies from our mailer, and we had over 100 people at the meeting. Add in all the email and phone call questions and we’re getting a tremendous amount of feedback.”
The Mayor’s Director of Communications, Matt Laidlaw, delivered the presentation to the audience. Essentially, the Mayor is looking to replace homeowners’ curbside bins, with one large, 64-gallon, wheeled container. Each residential and commercial property would receive one bin for trash. The current Recyclebank containers would still be used for household recycling, allowing residents to use their accumulated points for local purchases.
Some key elements of the proposed program:
Only the City supplied bin will be acceptable for disposal of household waste. Each household will receive one (1) 64-gallon bin, complete with wheels and lid. The container is equivalent to two (2) standard size curbside containers and residents will be allowed to throw as many bags as needed in the container.
Of the major changes, no bags will be collected curbside; only trash inside the container will be picked up. Also, the City is proposing a weekly recycling pickup, hoping to increase a household’s number of recyclables, and thus decrease its amount of trash. White Goods charges and yard waste pickups will remain the same.
Each container will be tagged with a serial number and the city will utilize similar technology as the Recycling containers to ensure the bins are properly returned to the correct home. The bins would stay with the property as tenants or homeowners move.
Additional bins will be available for rental from the city at a cost of $150 per year. The rental fee would be added to the property owners tax bill.
The Mayor hopes this effort will decrease the tonnage of trash dumped at disposal sites. Decreasing the amount of trash in the system will help the City save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mayor DeMaria is mirroring a similar effort started last year in Medford. Currently the City of Medford is on track to save $700,000 in trash fees. The Mayor noted that with the potential savings he hopes to offset taxes, complete infrastructure repairs, repair parks, and help reduce the City’s financial levy.
Increased Recycling Effort
With the addition of the 64 Gallon bin, residents and commercial property owners will be encouraged to increase recycling efforts in the hopes of decreasing the amount of trash entering into the system. While Everett’s recycling numbers have dramatically increased since the introduction of Recyclebank in 2008, the costs for disposal have not decreased, prompting the administration to evaluate measures to save the city additional monies.
The Mayor noted at the City Hall meeting the importance of increased recycling, as the process generates revenue for the city in the form of avoided fees from trash. The Mayor also noted that the revenue also depends on the strength of the commodities market, which has slumped in recent years. With an effort to increase the amount of recycling in the system, the Mayor envisions earning additional revenue to compensate for the market conditions.
In contrast to the trash bin rental, the City will continue to supply recycling containers at no additional charge. Properties can receive as many recycling containers as necessary and redeem the “Points” provided through the City’s recycling contractor Recyclebank.
Mayor’s considering options:
With the response and feedback to the proposal the Mayor is considering a number of options to assist residents’ concerns. The Mayor is hoping to incorporate a number of the suggestions in his proposal to the City Services Commission. Suggestions include:
Incorporating “Holiday” weeks, where residents can throw away additional bags during holiday seasons.
Options for residents, especially for seniors or those with small families, to use a smaller bin.
Using Recyclebank points towards the rental of an additional bin.
Potentially using a larger bin for trash, upwards of 96 Gallons.
A separate rental structure for multi-family homes, or decreasing the rental cost for single-family homes.
A snowstorm clause, allowing residents to use bags during extreme winter weather, when the bins cannot be brought curbside.
Increase Inspectional Services personnel and enforcement.
The Mayor is looking to finalize the proposal and will again seek feedback from residents. While the outline covered the majority of households in Everett, the Mayor is still seeking feedback from larger commercial properties and large condominium complexes.
“This proposal is still in the infancy stage,” notes Mayor DeMaria, “we want to move quickly but I feel it’s absolutely necessary to get feedback from the community. I want to make this the best program in the State while saving the city much needed dollars.”