Important Public Discussion Thursday: Expanding our Board of Selectmen

Summary: this Thursday, October 12th there’s an important meeting and discussion of the proposal to expand our Town’s Board of Selectmen from 3 to 5 members. Come give your feedback to the Committee researching that question. 

Compromise on Location for Modular Units at Burbank Elementary

Summary: The School Administration has a good plan for locating modular units at Burbank. The next challenge is finding the money to pay for it. 

Everyone in town knows that the biggest problem facing the school district is numbers. We’ve been adding about a hundred students a year to our already crowded schools, but generally not adding the classroom space to accomodate them.

The Space Task Force has been identifying and implementing possible short-term solutions them while we take steps towards the biggest potential problem solver: a new High School which, depending on the final grade configuration, may ease crowding district-wide.

Trash Talk Tonight: Selectman’s Meeting on Waste Recycling at 6:00 PM

Hey BloggingBelmont readers. This is something of a last minute notice, but better late than never! Tonight (Sept. 25) at 6:00 PM in the Auditorium at Town Hall (down the hall from the Selectmen’s room). Long and short: Belmont’s trash disposal and waste recycling contracts are up for renewal and there’s tremendous interest in town in getting Belmont to recycle more and waste (or landfill) less. Right now, just 1 in 10 Massachusetts towns pay entirely for waste disposal with property taxes and set no limits or fees on trash, and Belmont is one of them. While that might sound “nice,” it also encourages waste. According to data compiled by Town Meeting member Kim Slack, the average Belmont household recycled 7.3 lbs/wk compared with 10.2lbs/wk in Arlington – 40% more

Other troubling statistics: our recycling rate of 22% is unchanged from 2011. Something needs to change and the renewal of the Town’s waste contract is the opportunity to do it. In our Annual Town Meeting this year, Belmont voted 62% in favor to have the Board of Selectmen seriously considering a Pay-As-You-Throw approach in the request for proposal for the Town’s business. This would allow people to recycle as much as they want at no cost, but put a per-bag fee on trash. With Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) Bags residents buy special bags at local retailers $1-2 bag, fees returned to residents annually. Other cities and towns that have adopted this approach have seen a big jump in recycling rates and a big drop in the waste stream generated by residents.

That and other options may be eligible for state grants such as SMART (Save Money and Reduce Trash). So…there’s a lot to consider but Belmont stands to realize both fiscal and environmental gains and -overall – enjoy a more competitive and (hopefully) favorable bidding process than in years past. 

I hope I see you talking trash tonight at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting!