New Budget Cements Trash Pickup Change, Two-Barrel Limit

City Councilor William J. Macek.

Concerns over plans to implement automated trash pickup program topped Haverhill City Council budget discussions Tuesday night.

Councilors unanimously approved a new “total” city budget of up to $193.6 million, counting water and sewer totals. Procedural votes included $936,450 in “revolving funds” for Recreation and Parks, the Veterans Memorial Skating Rink, the citizen center, Council on Aging, Wood School daycare and municipal open space management. While calling the new budget “good,” councilors, including William J. Macek, questioned the mayor’s budget plan to bring 64-gallon “toters” to residents by winter, following a pilot program.

“I think it’s a mistake—one, to do it in the winter. I think it should be implemented either sooner or later. Actually, I think it should be implemented never, because my proposal that I brought forward was a voluntary proposal, however. The other interesting fact that was brought up is that I mentioned to the mayor we’re going to be paying more this year for a half a year of toters than we paid last year for a full year of standard, traditional waste and recycling pickup. (The) mayor said that was somewhat of a working situation with the trash company over a seven-year contract. I also asked for copies of the numbers that he said I could have, but I haven’t received them yet. Looking forward as to where we’re going to end up going budgetwise,” Macek said.

Macek said he hopes the city would “keep an open mind” with waivers for elderly and other residents with difficulties and try working out a voluntary program, as he earlier proposed.

“We need to have a comprehensive plan of attack to deal with those people, to give them waivers and I don’t that’s yet there. So I’m just asking the mayor and this council maybe continue to revisit this issue over the next couple of months when we have time before this is fully implemented, because I think it’s important if we’re going to go that route that we do it right and we don’t wait and do crisis management rather than do proactive planning, which I am more in favor of,” Macek said.

Calls to Improve Recycling Participation Rate

City Councilor Colin F. LePage, chairman of Administration and Finance Committee.

City Councilor Colin F. LePage, chairman of Administration and Finance Committee.

Councilor Colin F. LePage also told Mayor James J. Fiorentini the city’s recycling task force and board of health should help improve what he called a “stagnant” 19 percent recycling rate. He said the city must let residents know trash limits will be cut from the current three, 30-gallon barrels, down to the equivalent of two barrels.

“We just want to educate folks that there’s more than half the things they throw away, two thirds of the things they throw away can be recycled. And if we just give them the tools to do that, they will do that and we’ll save money. I just want to, again, suggest to you maybe you want to put that out for the six months before the toters happen that, in essence, if toters happen it will be a two barrel program,” LePage said.

In other budget action, councilors approved creation of an “other post-employment benefits” (OPEB) stabilization account by transferring $200,000 from the general fund, “mitigation and health Insurance close-out.” Also, under a rule suspension due to an agenda error, the council approved a $100,000 “school stabilization fund” to help pay any higher than expected special education costs for the school district.

8 thoughts on “New Budget Cements Trash Pickup Change, Two-Barrel Limit

  1. We live on Freeman & Proctor the side walk are uneven & 2 to 3 feet above the street how are we going to put our trash out they pick up manually know this works the truck would not work in these cases

  2. Let me get this straight – last summer, the Mayor intentionally underbudgets the the trash contract by $800K/33%, so he can jam the toter program down our throats, For a year now, he’s pushed, and pushed, and pushed…..and now he’s just dropping it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he is because it won’t work in this city. Just seems a little strange that with the new budget out, he’s willing to now drop it – maybe because it was budgeted properly this year?

    I asked him personally about how he could miss the number by so much last summer, and in his usual flippant fashion when questioned on a decision, he told me “if you can guess a number like that perfectly, you should play the stock market” – classic retort from him. It’s not like he missed it by $25-50K… was $800K!

    Either way, I’m glad it’s not being forced on the residents. 33% less trash isn’t a workable solution, and those trucks and arms aren’t workable on many city streets.

  3. What the Mayor IS NOT TELLING YOU is that the trash companies will NO LONGER have to pick up your LARGE items, like a chair or couch. People around here need to get their heads out of their rear ends and pay attention to what is going on.

  4. “(The) mayor said that was somewhat of a working situation with the trash company over a seven-year contract.” – Did anyone notice that the companies during the bidding process were also related family members, and/or divested from prior entities in regard to trash removal, who also donate generously to Beacon Hill?