Methuen City Council Rejects Trash Toter Plan

Methuen Mayor Stephen N. Zanni tells city councilors the trash toter plan will save the city $250,000. (Photograph courtesy City of Methuen.)

Methuen residents will not be forced to use 64-gallon toters after city councilors rejected a proposal to bring the automated trash program there.

Methuen councilors Monday night voted 8 to 1 against a proposed $8.5 million, five-year contract with trash contractor E. L. Harvey & Sons, Westboro, that would have brought trash toters to some 14 thousand Methuen households. Council Vice Chairman Jamie Atkinson cast the lone vote in favor. Before the vote, Methuen Mayor Stephen N. Zanni sought to clarify what he called “innuendos made that were not true,” and told the council his proposal, like others in his administration, are “all about our city” and trying to save taxpayers money.

“And I’m here as your mayor to give you offers, in this case, of presenting something, in the end, that will save over $250,000 a year on taxes,” Zanni said. “We have over 14,000 households in Methuen and my thought is that I’ll present it. If the council decides to vote it down, that’s fine too. We’ll move on, I have no problem with that. But the cost keeping the trash the way it is, is not going to be the same.”

“All I am looking for is the residents of over 14,000 households in Methuen. And I’ve been out and about in this community as well. And my thought, give it a fair shake.  If you feel as though you don’t want to hear anymore, that’s fine too. But my thought is I look at, number one, what will the actual savings be in the long run to our city… And I think the residents—and I listened to some of them—say they never really got all the facts. And I thought it would be important at least for them to hear it but then you vote it down, that’s fine too but I think it’s important they get the chance to see both sides. If that’s not the wish of this council, that’s fine too,” Zanni said.

Council Chairman Sean J. Fountain said after holding three public hearings on the matter, “residents don’t want it.”

“They’re happy with the services we have currently and people don’t want change. It’s nice to know you can put the stuff out and it’s going to be picked up and I think people are very happy with Harvey. The big difference, when he had Russell a few years ago when the streets were a mess, this company has been very good. I haven’t had one single complaint, since Harvey took over, from one resident. I think it is working fine. My feeling is don’t try and fix something that isn’t broken,” Fountain said.

The vote came on a motion from Councilor James P. Jajuga and seconded by Councilor Jennifer Kannan.

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