ARLINGTON >> Representatives of the 13 towns involved in the Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance met in Arlington on Wednesday to finalize their budget and their contract with the Bennington County Regional Commission.
The group also voted to adopt their Solid Waste Implementation Plan, or SWIP, which Michael Batcher of the BCRC said would next have to go to the state for final approval. Bennington representative Stu Hurd made the motion to adopt, which was accepted unanimously. Once the plan is approved by the state, it will be good for five years.
The committee voted to approve a budget that would not exceed $186,665 in the first year. Batcher said that that number represents a high estimate of what will actually be needed, assuming that none of the grants his organization are working on come through, and that the Alliance gets no money from the state for holding Household Hazardous Waste Days, which Batcher said usually bring in about $20,000 each, between all the towns involved.
"BCRC is not going to be doing all the work for us," said Arlington representative Keith Squires, who was chairing the meeting, "BCRC is going to be the entity that is going to be signing contracts and actually paying the people that are going to be working for the Alliance, but its going to be through the BCRC. That's why you're going to see the budget number is the exact same number as the contract with BCRC... When you realize that they are going to be a lot of the work, and handling the paying of contractors, it makes sense."
The Alliance was formed in response to the Universal Recycling Act, Act 148 of 2012, between the towns of Arlington, Bennington, Dorset, Glastenbury, Manchester, Pownal, Rupert, Sandgate, Searsburg, Shaftsbury, Stamford, Sunderland, and Woodford. Previously, Bennington and Woodford had a joint SWIP, Stamford had its own, Searsburg had not yet had a SWIP approved, and the other nine towns were under a single SWIP. According to the new Alliance SWIP, the mission of the Alliance is to, "reduce the amount of waste disposed in landfills, by incineration or similar means by reducing the amount of waste generated, conserving resources and promoting recycling and reuse." They intend to accomplish this by reducing the amount of solid waste disposed by 25 percent by 2020, and by diverting 50 percent of solid waste from landfills.
According to the BCRC's website, the representatives on the committee are select board chair Squires from Arlington, town manager Hurd from Bennington, town manager Rob Gaiotti from Dorset, town supervisor Ricky Harrington from Glastenbury, town manager John O'Keefe from Manchester, Megan Randall a volunteer from Pownal, select board chairman Mark Lourie from Rupert, acting select board chair Suzie dePeyster from Sandgate, select board chair Sandy Gaszek from Searsburg, select board vice-chair Mitch Race from Shaftsbury, select board member Nancy Bushika from Stamford, select board member Steve Bendix from Sunderland, and select board member Mike Charrette and planning commission member Betty Charrette, from Woodford.
The committee will next meet in January, although the exact date and location have not yet been determined.