Thursday, June 14, 2012

Breaking News: EHS Subcommittee Votes In Favor of Reducing Trash Fines

Ken O’Brien

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.

11 comments:

  1. Clemence just seeking salvation and Christo brown nosing to Nikola. After the election, if the incumbants win nothing will change.

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  2. Council Chair Nikolla will likely be a “No Show”.

    Cameras....Roll....Action!

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  3. After three years of ass-kissing and cozying up to Nikolla and Clark we're supposed to believe that the councilor from Canada is standing up for the average citizen?
    This sounds like ex-councilor Vecchia at his most insidious.

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  4. So John, tell me again why you believe that a punitive fine of $250 for leaving an extra trash bag on top of your trash barrel would cause the local recycling rate to jump from 16% to 40% (a 250% increase) over the course of two weeks?

    Oh yeah, somebody said so.

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  5. This is just plain nuts. I thought the whole reason for the punative fines was to get our recycling rate above the threshold required for getting larger payments from Casella. For Clark to say there's no mechanism to monitor our rate is a slap in the face to everyone who lives in Southbridge; we'll raise taxes because that's easy, we wont excercise our rights under the contract because that's hard. Will the council finally realize this guy's in over his head?

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    Replies
    1. Just because that's what you want to do, Logan, doesn't mean you can force the town to pay a fine. If you and your egomaniacal, lame-brained pals on the council had any mental fortitude they would be focusing on improving the economy of the town. But no, you would rather look for ways to push even more people out of the town.

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    2. I think you missed my point. Although I don't agree with the fines, I thought, at the very least, they were a way to get the recycling rate up so that we generate more money from the landfill. But now it looks like the fines are there for simple retribution over the loss of "smartcarts". I don't think using brute force to compel people to recycle is a smart idea.

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  6. This is a joke. THe town has such a small governing body and when the town has an issue that requires the voting of its members what happens? They don't show up. We're paying these people to act in OUR interest and they can't even show up to do the minimum amount of work required by a member of the council—vote.

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    1. Oh really, they get paid?

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    2. IQ, Peeps is right, they are not paid.. But we also get what we pay for from all of these councilors--nothing. They earn what they don't make. They are the Enron of Southbridge, no, they are all Bernie Madoffs with a Ponzi scheme.

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  7. It looks like they finally listened to a suggestion made by the councilor they love to hate. McDonald suggested a tiered fine scheme at a couple of meetings.

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