From: Michael S. Batcher
Subject: October 27, 2014 SWIP Planning Meeting Minutes
Date: November 3, 2014
Town Representatives: Keith Squires (Arlington), Stu Hurd (Bennington), John O’Keefe (Manchester), Dave Kiernan (Shaftsbury), Nancy Bushika (Stamford), Steve Bendix (Sunderland), Bette Charette and Mike Charette (Woodford), Sandy Gaszek (Searsburg)
Not in Attendance: Rob Gaiotti (Dorset), Ricky Harrington (Glastenbury), Suzie dePeyster (Sandgate), Mark Lourie (Rupert), Jim Gilbert (Pownal)
BCRC Staff: Michael S. Batcher
NERC: Lynn Rubenstein
Public: Mat Proft, Dorset
Location and Time: Bennington Free Library Wills Room – 4:00 to 6:00 PM
Introductions: As with all meetings, we started by going around the table and introducing ourselves.
NERC Presentation: BCRC had contracted with the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) to review organizational options for the 13 towns including a solid waste district, a solid waste alliance and the current, unorganized approach. Lynn Rubenstein, the executive director of NERC had previously submitted a report, following a review of Vermont statutes, interviews with members of the planning team, and interviews with selected solid waste management districts and alliances. To summarize briefly:
A district would be the most complicated to organize as it requires several public hearings, a review by the State Attorney General and approval by the legislature. It would be able to hire staff, tax, or surcharges on solid waste collected and transported within the district. All programs required by VT ANR would be the responsibility of the district, including adoption of any ordinances, such as the required pay as you throw ordinance.
An alliance provides a formalized structure in the form of a contract between the towns. The alliance could hire contractors to implement programs. Funding would come from town contributions and grants. The alliance cannot adopt or enforce ordinances.
In both of the above arrangements, the towns are required to form a Joint Municipal Survey Committee (JMSC) that would be tasked with developing the charter, in the case of a district, or the interlocal contract in the case of an alliance. That committee would need to have officers and maintain minutes.
The current unorganized arrangement places the burden on the individual towns to meet the requirements of VT ANR.
Lynn recommended the formation of a district due to the advantages of funding, organizational structure and ability to regulate solid waste.
Discussion: The group discussed her presentation and recommendations. We had had such discussions in the past, and the general consensus was that a district would result in loss of control. We discussed that there was some illogic to this as the towns did not really want to deal with solid waste, but they were concerned about creating a new entity that they could not put back in the box. Stu Hurd was the lone voice advocating for a district.
Concern was also expressed on how the small towns would find anyone to serve on a district or alliance board as there are so few volunteers available.
We discussed voting options including whether each town should have one vote or whether votes should be apportioned by population. That would give the majority to Bennington and Manchester. John O’Keefe suggested that, for a budget or policy to be approved, the requirement would be for both a majority of members AND a majority of towns to approve the measure.
Following this discussion, the group decided to pursue forming an alliance and wished to see agreements used by other alliances. Lynn promised to send out to the group the versions she had. She also suggested that we look at charter of solid waste districts so we can take the best of what others have developed as we design our own system. Michael was tasked with developing a resolution, for adoption by the Select Boards and Ricky Harrington, for creating a Joint Municipal Survey Committee.
Other Items: Michael asked if anyone was planning to attend the November 12th meeting in Rutland on the pay as you throw ordinance. While there is quite a bit of concern by members about this requirement, they requested that VT ANR come to a meeting, possibly in January, to discuss this.
Michael also said he was revising the solid waste portion of the website and asked if anyone wanted to review materials before they went live. The consensus was to go live and they could comment later.
Next Steps: Michael will prepare a summary memorandum and a resolution, for adoption by each Select Board and the Town of Glastenbury to establish a Joint Municipal Study Committee and appoint a representative to develop an Alliance. He will also be preparing the actions portion of the draft plan, along with a budget, to provide the members with some idea of the types and costs of programs we will need to implement.
The group will also review the contracts and charters of other alliances and districts.
Next Meeting: December 2, 2014 (Tuesday) from 4:00 to 6:00 PM at the Manchester Town Hall