Kenneth M. O’Brien
The newly reconstituted town council of Casellaburg will hold its first regular meeting on Monday, July 25 at 7:00.
The community’s new power couple of town manager Christopher Clark and council chair Catherine Nickolla (which in the spirit of other such power couples as Brangelina and Bennifer I will dub Clickolla) has put forth their first collaborative agenda.
Among the items to be acted upon are the following:
“23. Vote to ratify the contract between the Town of Southbridge and Mass DEP Grant (as defined by 815 CMR 2.00) for “Save-Money-And-Reduce-Trash” (SMART) Program.
24. Vote to approve borrowing authorization of $240,000 to purchase up to 40-gallon trash containers or “smart carts” for residential use in conjunction with the Town’s solid waste disposal program, and for the payment of all other costs incidental and related thereto, and that to meet this appropriation, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Town Manager, is authorized to borrow said amount under and pursuant to Chapter 44, Section 7(9) of the General Laws, or pursuant to any other enabling authority, and to issue bonds or notes of the Town herefore.
(2/3 Roll Call Required)”
Despite the fact that this proposal was previously defeated in January, it has risen zombie-like from the grave. Interestingly, it has been placed at the very end of the agenda, virtually guaranteeing an absence of citizens willing to wait in the stifling heat of the MacKinnon Council Chambers to comment on the issue.
Commenting on the plan’s original defeat in the Southbridge Evening News of January 12, the current council chair said, “You don’t have to hit me over the head with it,” said Nikolla in regards to the public’s disfavor for the SMART cart program. “It’s obvious that the people who are making their way to Town Hall are against this program. It doesn’t mean that all of the town is against it — it’s just the people who come to these meetings and go to Town Hall don’t want it. I do. But I’m a town councilor. I’m voting for the public, not myself.”
It will be interesting to see to what extent that sentiment is still operative on Monday night, now that the election is over.
A follow up article in the same paper on January 14 carried the following observation: Town Council Vice Chairman Butch McDonald’s reasons for voting against the program were more based on how this would affect the town’s landfill. “As time goes on, more and more money is going toward Casella and less and less money is going toward Southbridge for the usage of the landfill,” said McDonald. “I’ve seen three administrations in Town Council get forced into negotiations for the landfill and Casella has not done nearly enough for the town for how much they get from us. They aren’t providing us for the longterm effects. We need to make things more realistic for the people. It’s been proven that one person produces ‘X’ amount of garbage. You can’t change that. A family of five is going to produce five times as much as that one personand it just won’t fit into one bin.”
Naturally we are obviously so financially flush, and our borrowing capacity so unconstrained that there shouldn’t be any concern about incurring almost a quarter million dollars of new debt.
So sit back and enjoy the ride folks. This is merely the beginning of the Clickolla Future Of Casellaburg agenda. There’s at least a year more of it ahead of us.