Weston board hears about new Transfer Station system

By Bruce Frauman
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Solid Waste coordinator Esther Fishman told the April 11 meeting of the Weston Select Board,  that for a couple of years, auditors have asked that cash be removed from the Transfer Station. After much deliberation and research, Fishman said, “What seems best is a punch-card system.”

The Transfer Station on Route 100 between Londonderry and Weston manages waste from those two towns as well as Landgrove, Peru and Windham.

Solid Waste Coordinator Esther Fishman explains the new payment system for trash. Photos by Bruce Frauman

Fishman said trash must be paid for either by volume or by weight. And state law forbids charging for recycling. The last couple of years, recycling has not been “doing well,” with the price for recycled materials going down, leaving deficits.

To offset the shortfalls, prices for disposal would go up under the new system. The rise would be from $1 to $2 for a 13-gallon bag, from $3 to $4 for a 30-gallon bag and from $5 to $6 for a large construction bag. Punch cards with 5 punches would be sold for $10 and a 10-punch card would sell for $20.

Town Clerk Kim Seymour said the cards could be sold from the town office building. In addition, Fishman said the Londonderry Hardware Store is considering selling the punch cards. Board vice-chair Jim Linville volunteered to join the committee Fishman is putting together to “figure out the transition and how to get the word out.”

Fishman also announced a back yard compost workshop at Neighborhood Connections on April 22 at 10 a.m. If interested, it is best to call ahead to reserve a space. By 2020, no food scraps will be allowed in the trash, including food scraps from households. Electronic Recycling Day will be May 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Flood Brook School. “Anything with a cord” will be accepted.

Road Foreman Almon Crandall asks for authority to ‘unpost’ dirt roads as mud season ends.

In other business, Road Foreman Almon Crandall said that in keeping with the equipment replacement schedule, he is getting prices to replace the 550 plow truck. The board will need to decide whether or not to buy an extended warranty. In addition, the board gave Crandall authority to “unpost” the roads as mud season passes.

After some discussion, the board decided to ask Kim Price to join the Planning Commission and Bob Mignone to join the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Ann Fuji’i suggested that Lisa Yrsha be asked to join the Conservation Commission. According to the Planning Commission draft minutes, two more candidates are being considered for the open Zoning Administrator position. A second representative to the Windham Regional Commission is still being sought. WRC representative and Select Board member Charles Goodwin said many meetings could be attended via phone, saving drives to Brattleboro and elsewhere.

A request from the Community Association to close Park Street on May 28 for a pig roast and bar-b-que was approved.

Chester Telegraph publisher Cynthia Prairie attended the meeting to talk about a letter she had received from the board. Signed by vice chair Jim Linville and Fire Chief Brian Lundberg, the letter took issue with the characterization of the town’s tanker truck as “dangerous to drive” in The Telegraph’s coverage of the Weston Town Meeting published on March 8.

The Weston Select Board discusses what ‘dangerous to drive’ means if it was used as hyperbole.

The Linville/Lundberg letter disputed that claim saying that “Operational safety is always the highest priority for Weston’s emergency responders” and calling The Telegraph’s characterization of the truck “simply inaccurate.”  The letter was copied to attorney James “Lexi” Young.

Prairie explained that the truck had been discussed in earlier meetings including one on June 28, 2016, in which fire department members Derrick and Brian Lundberg described its handling as difficult and called it “scary to drive” among other more colorful descriptions.

Fuji’i  said she felt the Telegraph’s handling of the statements made by members of the fire department members was “sensationalistic and a little bit cherry picking.” Fuji’i said the firefighters’ statements were made for “emphasis to move up the time line to order the truck.”

In fact, the handling problems of the tanker were not mentioned in the story’s headline or lede paragraph, and the did not appear until the eighth paragraph which was about the passage of the funding for a new truck.

Linville said that just because the fire chief and his son said the fire truck is dangerous to drive does not mean that it is in fact dangerous to drive. “The question we are discussing is how do we react to having that quote disseminated publicly.” The board decided that the best course of action was to pass a motion endorsing the letter calling The Telegraph story inaccurate and move on. Prairie offered to print the letter along with her response in The Telegraph but the board preferred that she did not.

Finally, Fuji’i said that the Conservation Commission is considering ways to clear out a path to and through the Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

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