Finance Committee makes plans to review trash privatization

2018 Finance sub-committee: Andrew K. Surprise, Dan Allie, chair, Matt Emmershy. (Photo by Amy Porter)

WESTFIELD – The Finance Committee met for a brief meeting on Wednesday. Chair Dan Allie and members Matthew Emmershy and Andrew K. Surprise voted to approve the transfer of $3,000 within the Airport Department to pay for snow and ice removal on the runway.
Emmershy said he wants to invite the directors of the departments of Public Works and Public Health to the next meeting, to review the bids for curbside collection and the transfer station at Twiss Street that were sent out in 2016 in an effort to privatize both collections.
“It turned out nobody wanted Twiss Street,” Surprise commented.
At-large Councilor Dave Flaherty, who attended the Finance committee meeting, said that the documents would be available through the Purchasing Department, which sends out the bids. He suggested Emmershy get the budgets from the department heads as well. “We need to know all the statistics in order to do a true analysis,” he added.
Ward 1 Councilor Mary Ann Babinski, also present, said she would like to see the city go toward zero waste, and have people charged according to how much trash they generate. “The whole point is not to make it more costly, but to reuse, recycle and repurpose what you have. You need to start putting that into the discussion,” Babinski said.
Emmershy said one of his concerns is that with bulk pickup, the trucks are still driving the loads to Twiss Street, where they need an expensive loader to pick up the bulk and drive it to Holyoke. “It may make more sense to have the guys who pick up the bulk drive it themselves to Holyoke, and eliminate the need for a heavy loader,” he said.
Allie said there are also the skyrocketing costs to consider if landfills close locally.

Emmershy pointed to the privatization in West Springfield, where he said the taxes went down when they went to private trash.
“It may work out, it may not work out, but it won’t be quick. Could be January of next year before (there is) any resolution,” Flaherty said.
They voted to keep the matter in committee, and invite the two department heads to the March 7 meeting. Emmershy said he would request the documents.

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