At it’s meeting of Wednesday, June 13, the Education and Human Services Subcommittee voted to request the town council to discuss at its next meeting a reduction of the current trash fines to $25, $50 and $100 for the first, second, third and subsequent offenses. This would be a dramatic reduction from the current level of $250 for a first ticketed offense.
The vote was three to one with the only dissenting vote coming from citizen subcommittee member Holly Christo.
However, there is no guarantee that the item will appear on the Monday agenda. The town charter provides that the agenda is made up by the council chair.
The only provision of the charter that overrides that is the mandate that an item will be included at the written request of three councilors. However, only two member councilors were present at the subcommittee meeting. Councilor Laurent McDonald was out of town on business.
The only other councilor not present entitled to vote was council chair Catherine Nikolla.
The meeting, which was not recorded, resulted in a conflict between councilor Denise Clemence and the town manager. This was brought on when citizen John Pulawski pointed out that recycling rates in the town had been improving. The contract with Casella provides that if the recycling rate in Southbridge exceeds that of a class of other communities then the fee paid to the town will increase by $1 per ton. He asked where we stand in that regard.
Town Manager Clark responded that there was no mechanism in place to monitor that. At that point councilor Clemence clarified to town manager Clark that the contract provided for the additional revenue to the town, and she expected the town to be able to collect upon the provision.
Since the council agenda is normally issued to councilors on Thursday night it will be interesting to see if this item is on it. If it is, it should make for another interesting meeting on Monday.