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Select Board Addresses Trash Pick-Up Concerns

by Matt Ristaino
June 25, 2019

The Select Board addressed residents’ concerns about the new trash and recycling pick-up program set to begin next month at its meeting Monday evening.

In recent days, many residents have complained about the small size of the 35-gallon trash barrels that must now be used. Should a residence’s trash exceed the 35-gallon limit, they can purchase trash stickers for $2 to attach to additional bags.

Chairman Mark Ahronian emphasized that the size constraint is nothing new from the town’s perspective, as previous contract with Republic only allowed for a 35-gallon trash barrel as well. However, that policy was not strictly enforced by Republic, and many residents used trash barrels that were larger than technically allowed.

“Nothing has changed from what we were supposed to have in the past,” said Ahronian.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Jay Leary asked the Board if it would be possible for residents to purchase additional trash barrels if they found that one 35-gallon barrel would not be enough. The Board seemed to agree that should be an option for residents, and promised to get back to Leary about the issue after discussion with E.L. Harvey.  

Joe Mozdiez of Dalton Rd. expressed his displeasure with the size of the new barrels, saying the new program “doesn’t make sense” for large households and families with small children. He also said that the program amounted to a tax increase for those who will now need to purchase trash stickers on a regular basis.

John Cronin strongly disagreed with Mozdiez, and responded that the trash stickers are not a tax increase, but a fee that must be paid for exceeding the amount of trash to be picked up that is already covered in town taxes.

“People need to give the program a chance to work,” said Cronin. “This is an educational process. We need to let the system play out.”

Ahronian also made it very clear that during the process of picking the size of the new barrels months ago, the majority of the town wanted the 35-gallon ones. The Board actually initially voted to go with 65-gallon barrels for both trash and recycling. However, the Board received significant pushback from the community, and decided to honor their wishes by choosing the 35-gallon trash barrels. The town also received a significant grant from the state for choosing the smaller barrels.

Ahronian said that at this point, all the barrels have been ordered, most have been delivered, and there is nothing more they can do.

The Board held two public hearings during their meeting. The first was for the approval of a new general manager, Grant Young, for Bertucci’s on Washington St. Young said his goal is to improve the quality of service at the restaurant, and that he is hiring about a dozen new staff members. The Board voted to approve his appointment.

The second hearing was with the Board of Health, during which the three candidates to fill the vacancy on the Board were discussed. The vacancy is due to the person who was elected to the Board last month declining the position. The Select Board decided to interview the candidates themselves before voting on an appointment.

The Board hears from Kris Westland, chair of the Community Farm Advisory Committee.

The Board also got an update on the community farm from Kris Westland of the Community Farm Advisory Committee. Westland said that the committee is in the process of reviewing a document that outlines the plans for future improvements to the property.

She also expressed a desire to increase signage on the property, both to identify it and to display various rules and regulations. The Board asked Westland to come up with a full proposal for the new signs and to present it to the Board at a future meeting.

In other business, the Board approved a series of fiscal year-end transfers for various town departments, and made a number of appointments to various town positions and committees.

Select Board member Tina Hein and Town Administrator Jeff Ritter were absent from the meeting.


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Comments (17)

I'm concerned about residents using lots of extra plastic bags at a time when we are acutely aware of the damage that plastic is causing.

- Ellen Piontek | 6/29/19 7:16 PM

So let's see, the plot thickens. Dalton Road was picked up last Tuesday, four days ago. The next collection with the mini barrels is not a week from today but a week from tomorrow, Saturday the 6th. Eleven days without collection. Are there additional stickers being handed out for inconvenience? The woodchucks, skunks, raccoons ?? and coyotes will enjoy the bags everywhere. This obviously should have received a larger audience for approval and the change plans documented to households before approval.

- Joe Mozdiez | 6/28/19 1:55 PM

If I recall correctly, the old trash policy limited the barrel size to 35 gallons and 40 lbs., so if I'm right, nothing's changed in that regard. A $2 sticker was (and I believe remains) required for an additional bag or barrel. So if I'm not mistaken, the discourse now on the new program isn't based any anything new. Let's just be glad the old provider is almost a memory. If I'd have been present when the driver pulled out styrofoam from the bin and threw it onto my yard three times in a row I would have been upset.

- John Locke | 6/27/19 2:20 PM

Trash is a utility like anything else. If you have a large family and make a lot of waste, you pay more for that, like you pay for more water with 3 teenagers taking long showers, or more for electricity if you have an electric sauna.

None of these utilities is unlimited for a flat rate.

- Vince Packard | 6/26/19 2:55 PM

A family of six or seven should be able to use a larger and more practical size trash barrel without being penalized - a 35 gallon barrel is good for a family of 2-3 people, that's it

- Lee DeSorgher | 6/26/19 12:21 PM

I think this just proves that Holliston is pretty strapped for cash. We have to pay $75 a quarter for water main replacement that should have been done all along as regular maintenance. Some parts of town have brown water that we had to have an override last year to get the ball rolling on fixing that issue. Not blaming current town employees but it seems we have been mismanaged in the past and now we are paying for it. Its just embarrassing that for what we pay in tazes we get that small barrel. And if it was supposed to be 35 gallons all along than it still embarrassing that we cannot afford more. Holliston is great town with great schools. But we need some things to change as this should not even be a discussion. How much was the grant we would have lost for having bigger barrels? No one gives that figure. Also grants do not last forever.

- Bill Littlefield | 6/26/19 11:30 AM

If additional 35 gallon barrels are approved, what would stop someone from taking one from another residence? I think additional ones should be a different color or something

- John Finneran | 6/25/19 6:29 PM

These barrels are simply too small for households with larger families. At this point It would be more cost effective to have private trash pick up, than it would be to buy stickers for additional bags each week. I find it absurd we would have to buy another bin. 65 gallon bins are standard for many towns.

- Sarah Hill | 6/25/19 5:05 PM

Find an elderly neighbor who generates very little trash and offer to bring there barrels in and out for them in exchange for using there excess space. Get creative. Tip your trash and recycle guys. It goes a long way.

- Bill Littlefield | 6/25/19 4:41 PM

The E.L Harvey website lists that a 96 gallon barrel is the typical size for a residential weekly pick up. How did we end up with less than half the standard?


- Max Peck | 6/25/19 3:01 PM

In the past few weeks while watching public comment on various facebook pages, there has been little support for the 35 gallon trash barrels. I think it would be fantastic if there was an option to purchase additional barrels especially for a family of seven!

- Matt Barry | 6/25/19 1:37 PM

Marty, Bertuci's has an alcoholic license. When management/ownership changes, they come before us for transfer.

- john cronin | 6/25/19 11:28 AM

I think if you have a liquor license or maybe even just serve food your GM has to be approved by the selectboard. They have to make sure you are trained in food safety and liquor license laws?

And on the trash - If you generate more trash than you should pay more but I think you should be able to rent another barrel on a yearly basis or pay yearly for a bigger barrel. The stickers are not a good practice as bags not in a barrel contribute to rat problems. Natick is going though this now as they sell bags for the extra trash.

- Bill Littlefield | 6/25/19 11:01 AM

Mr. Cronin is right, change is difficult, but give it a chance. Don't know if you like it till you try it, as the saying goes.

- Jackie Dellicker | 6/25/19 10:05 AM


Bertuccis serves alcohol, the manager must be approved by the licensing authority. That is state law.

- Henry Dellicker | 6/25/19 9:29 AM

I had the same question, Marty.

- Erica Plunkett | 6/25/19 8:46 AM

Did I miss something here in town? Since when does the Town government need to approve a general manager of a private business? Why does Bertucci's need permission to hire?

- Marty Lamb | 6/25/19 6:53 AM



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