Council Commits to Making Fiorentini’s Trash Toter Plan Work

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini poses with a 64-gallon toter.

Public Works Director Michael K. Stankovich.

Public Works Director Michael K. Stankovich.

Haverhill city councilors are calling for “a comprehensive plan” and better communication as the city moves toward automated trash pickup sometime in April.

A lengthy discussion Tuesday night between councilors and Public Works Director Michael K. Stankovich focused on roll-out plans, public awareness and granting exceptions from the new trash pickup program to seniors and residents with physical limitations, among others. Stankovich, on behalf of the mayor, told councilors the new system is expected to start early or late April, depending on the arrivals of new trucks and 64-gallon toters to be used. He said they would follow advice from other communities and they anticipate exceptions to the program based on a percentage of residents in those programs.

“So we’re going to be hiring some ambassadors, if you will, to work with us to go out and meet individually with the (200) to 300 (residents). I don’t believe it’s going to be a thousand, based on talking to Lawrence and Lowell. I think Lowell had 26,000 carts and they had 200 exceptions, if you will. And Salem, Massachusetts, just rolled their program out about a month ago, so it’s a smaller amount,” Stankovich said.

“What the other communities said, who have done this, is basically start off with a uniform, 64-gallon cart. And from there get input from people within a month’s time, because that will be four weeks of collection and then we can react to it from that particular standpoint. Again, I have no problems with working individually. We’ll staff up as many people as we need to and meet individually with folks that have concerns,” Stankovich added.

Stankovich said Mayor James J. Fiorentini will set fees for excessive trash and additional oversized item pickups. State officials, familiar with the city’s charter, today say the council retains ‘absolute authority’ to set parameters on any fees assessed on residents.

City Councilor William J. Macek.

City Councilor William J. Macek.

Councilor William J. Macek, who requested the discussion, suggested the possibility of creating a transfer station at the public works yard off Primrose Street as another tool.

“But if we’re going to do it, I’m going to work as hard as I can to make sure it is done in a comprehensive manner, that it’s not done in a similar version to the way we did parking,” Macek said. “And I remember somebody said the night we put parking in, ‘Well, if it doesn’t work we can always fix it.’ And it began on a stutter step and I think it’s still on a stutter step. And I don’t want to see that happen with our trash and recycling pickup.”

Macek: ‘There’s No Free Toters or Free Lunches’

He also disputed the claim toters being provided are free.

“They’re not going to be free. It’s in the contract for the next five or six years. And it’s my knowledge that they’re going to be about a million dollars. That’s built into the contract so it’s not free. There’s no free toters or free lunches in this world,” Macek said.

City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O'Brien.

City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien.

Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, who participated in a 400-resident pilot program, supports using the new system and said she believes it can work in Haverhill. She said, based on her observations, there is twice as much recyclables and they are “far heavier” than the toter.

“I think we want this to work but I want it to work right. There’s always going to be bumps in the road and I know that. And I truly do believe that we can get through this,” Daly O’Brien said. “All those other communities wouldn’t have been successful, but let’s figure out how we need to do it in Haverhill and keep in mind we do have those exceptions, whether it’s physical handicaps or aging, whatever the problem can be. I think that’s all I’m looking for but I am for this. I think it works.”

“I hate to use a word that’s getting bantered around quite a lot in the last year or two—transparency—but that’s really what we’re looking for. We just want this issue to be out front, it should come before us. We should have the public’s input. And I think it can work,” Daly O’Brien said.

Stankovich noted the city will continue the zoned, bi-weekly recycling pickup schedule as budget limitations and added costs keep the city from expanding to a weekly recycling schedule.

3 thoughts on “Council Commits to Making Fiorentini’s Trash Toter Plan Work

  1. “Mayor James J. Fiorentini will set fees for excessive trash” –

    Jimmy has to have his FEES!!!

    “Well, if it doesn’t work we can always fix it.’” –

    Oh we know about the parking. Somehow the promised $100K either never materialized or was misspent somewhere else.

    “no free toters or free lunches in this world” –

    There’s not supposed to be “free lunches” anywhere, but Massachusetts, Haverhill, and The Merrimack Valley in general excel in this area.

    “transparency—but that’s really what we’re looking for.” –

    Like the trash bidding process that no one questioned? Where two of the bidders (one eventually won the bid) were both owned by the same people and had the same family members running them? OCPF showed they were very generous by way of campaign bribes, I mean donations, to Jimmy and Beacon Hill pols. Of course, we wouldn’t expect anything less during the era of “the most transparent Administration ever”, in a state that is dead last in public records transparency.

    • Hahahahahahahahaha………..hahahahahaha……..transparency ? No such thing around here ! Hahahaha…..fix it later ? Hahahahaha……..just like how we were lied to on the parking plan finances….hahahahaha. Hysterical.

  2. Again – no mention of the 33% decrease in how much you can put out on a weekly basis. I don’t think anyone will have an issue with the mechanism the trash is put in for collection. I think after a few weeks, people will have an issue with not being able to get all of their trash collected on a weekly basis. We’ll see.