Mashpee Selectmen To Revisit Pay As You Throw

recyclingMASHPEE – Last week Mashpee Selectmen voted to begin a townwide system of pay-as-you-throw in order to reduce trash fees and encourage recycling in town.

Wayne Taylor, chairman of the board of selectmen, said after the vote, a number of residents voiced opposition to the vote including one who filed an open meeting law violation.

The violation cited the fact that the selectmen’s agenda did not use the term pay as you throw but instead used the acronym SMART, which stands for Save Money and Reduce Trash.

The open meeting law violation was filed with the town clerk.

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Taylor said he consulted with the town attorney and the attorney said he did not feel there was a violation.

“But to me it doesn’t matter. I don’t need a lawyer or other lawyers to tell me what’s right or what’s wrong to do,” Taylor said. He plans to ask for a vote on October 6 to rescind last week’s vote and to hold a public forum on the issue of pay as you throw before taking another vote on whether to go forward with the program or to look at another option.

Mashpee voters have twice voted “no” on the issue of pay as you throw in non-binding ballot questions.

Taylor said the reason selectmen want to go forward with the program is because the town’s tipping fees, the price it pays to dispose of trash off Cape, will increase to almost double in the next fiscal year. That increase will lead to an increase in the cost of a transfer station sticker for Mashpee residents.

“With that increase being somewhat substantial in my opinion, I felt like this was an option,” he said.

Under pay as you throw, if a household recycles in order to reduce their amount of trash to one to two bags per week, their price of disposal would be less than the new price of a sticker.

Taylor said his understanding from talking with people objecting to the vote is that listing the agenda item as SMART instead of pay as you throw was misleading.

But he defended the use of SMART. “It’s a term that’s commonly used between the [Department of Environmental Protection] and others to talk about the pay as you throw program,” he said.

He said the agenda was posted four days before the meeting and there were no calls asking the meaning of the term, SMART.

But Taylor agrees the agenda could have been worded differently. “I felt like the best option for us is to go back to the drawing board,” he said.

He said his allegiance is to the public. “I want to be open and honest with them. If they feel they weren’t treated correctly, I’m willing to stand up and say, ‘Hey, we made a mistake,'” he said.

But Taylor stressed that he does not feel the board made a mistake in voting to do the program. “I think the program makes sense in many ways,” he said.