Recycling Costs Pile Up in Rochester

Whatever Rochester residents are tossing into their recycling bins is causing a steady rise in disposal fees, costs that every month are ever-increasing as dirty recycling continues causing problems.

During the August 6 Rochester Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar pleaded with residents to please mind their recycling.

The cost of disposing recyclables last month was up to $4,200, Szyndlar reported, a number that is now the highest since amounts began teetering between $3,000-$4,000 over the past few months. What once cost the Town $30 per ton in added fees to dispose of its dirty recycling now costs $100 per ton, said Szyndlar in a follow-up after the meeting.

“I just want to stress to everybody: whatever you put into the recycling bin,” much of it dirty, she stressed, “… we’re paying extra for that.”

Dirty pizza boxes, said Szyndlar, “Dirty anything – pleas don’t put them in your recycling container. … We’re paying for those to go into the [landfill].”

Trash from Rochester is disposed of and burned at the SEMASS facility, Rochester Board of Selectmen Chairman Greenwood “Woody” Hartley pointed out, while residents’ dirty, unwashed recyclables is being dumped into a landfill.

Residents are advised to rinse off their recyclables before throwing them into the bin because, as Szyndlar pointed out after the meeting, when residents, for whatever reasons, don’t rinse their recyclables, “We all end up paying more for it.”

Also during the meeting, the selectmen appointed a new part-time police officer, Aaron Bates. Bates, an Old Colony graduate from Mattapoisett, is the town’s fifth appointed part-time officer, the preferred number of part-time officers Rochester Police strives to maintain, said Acting Chief Bob Small.

In other matters, the board approved the annual stabilization borrowing authorization for the amount of $1.2 million. The borrowing, as Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar explained, is something the Town does every year around this time. The board’s authorization allows the Town to dip into the Stabilization Fund and borrow money from it until tax payments are collected.

In other business, the selectmen took under consideration a proposal to restructure the hours of operation at Town Hall. According to Szyndlar, the July and August shortened hours have proven beneficial for townspeople and employees alike.

During the summer months, Town Hall closes early on Fridays at 1:00 pm, while employees either use up vacation time to make up for the shortened day or they put in extra hours on other days. Now, Town Hall is considering keeping the early Friday closure, while extending hours on Mondays until 6:00 pm to make Town Hall more accessible to those who cannot make it during the regular daytime hours.

“This would help residents to get here to be able to use Town Hall’s offices for any business,” said Szyndlar. “A lot of people can’t make the 8:30-4:30.”

Furthermore, with a shorter Friday, Town Hall would remain open until 5:00 pm Tuesday-Thursday in order to keep the number of open hours the same.

Szyndlar said right away she’s seen a positive response from both the public and Town Hall employees, saying, “Everybody seems to be in favor of it.”

The board will take a vote on the matter during a later meeting.

Many residents have inquired on social media about the sign announcing the temporary closure of the Mary’s Pond Road bridge by Leonard’s Pond, wondering about the proposed work. According to Szyndlar, the Town’s insurance company had scheduled the repair of damage caused by a major truck accident that occurred last year. That work, however, has been postponed until further notice. The work scheduled will take about a fortnight from start to finish.

The board set the date for the Special Fall Town Meeting for Monday, November 19 at 7:00 pm at Rochester Memorial School.

Hartley announced that the Town would be holding a public forum on Rochester becoming a Green Community on Thursday, September 27, at the Council on Aging. Two sessions will be held: one at 3:00 pm and another at 7:00 pm with Seth Pickering, the Southeast regional coordinator for the Green Communities program.

Residents should know that the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) will be flying drones over the town in the coming days, and should be no cause for concern by residents. The drones are part of a traffic flow study that should not impede on the public.

The board also voted to forego its right of first refusal for the purchase of 453 Rounseville Road.

The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen is scheduled for August 20 at 6:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

Rochester Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry


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