With Town Meetings 104-42 approval of Article 7 last night, the Town of Reading will be eliminating all current household trash and recycling containers in the coming year. There will also be a reduction from 128 gallons of trash and 1 large item per household to 64 gallons and no large items. One additional trash barrel may be leased through the town for $200 a year or you can purchase special trash bags, bearing the towns seal, at Market Basket and other retailers for $2 each.
*Updated 1:43pm* Recycling will consist of one 64 gallon cart with a case by case basis on a free second one.
Town Manager Fidel Maltez kicked off the presentation by reiterating, that the new barrels proposed tonight would not contain RFID chips. In April of this year, the previous trash vote failed by only 10 votes after RFID chips were mentioned as being included. Mr. Maltez then went on to explain that our trash costs will be going up exponentially in the coming years and we need to reduce the amount of trash being thrown out. We’re currently in a very favorable contract and any future one will add upwards of $1 million+ a year in our budget over the previous one and will require automated pickup. Mr. Maltez pointed out that Westford went out to bid for non automated trash pickup and received no bids. Our current contract with Republic and the incinerator company expires in 2025 and 2026.
Discussion on Article 7 started off with Precinct 2 member, John Sasso’s two amendments “Delete item (1) thereby removing the solid waste revolving fund and in (2) remove the wording “rubbish and.” as well as “Change the FY24 General Fund amount for “Rubbish Carts” from +$900,000 to +$450,000.” The spirit of Mr. Sasso’s amendments were looking at purchasing only recycling carts, not rubbish. Both amendments did not pass.
Discussion then continued and multiple amendments followed with the same result. Precinct 6 member Robert Coulter, suggested an amendment changing “leasing” barrels to one time purchasing them, that did not pass. Precinct 4 member Tom Wise, suggested an amendment reducing the amount from $900k to $600k to allow stickers to be used on existing barrels that meets the towns criteria, that did not pass. Lastly Precinct 6 member Steven Cool, attempted the following amendment:
Trash fees shall be apportioned to each household and billed with water bills and enumerated clearly on said bills with additional barrels billed at the same cost. Trash costs and revenues will be accounted for separately from other town accounting
After the amendment was posted on-screen, Precinct 6 member Mary Ellen O’Neill requested a point of information as the language wasn’t vetted by various boards and was a policy issue. Town Moderator Alan Folds agreed with it being out of the scope of the article and rejected it.
In terms of logistics, the new 64 gallon barrels and recycling containers will bear the town seal, take about 6 months to order and will be rolled out by a 3rd party company over the course of a week. Your existing barrels will no longer be permitted and will optionally be picked up at a specific date in the future. There are no specific dates when any of this will take place but we’ll be sure to update you in the future.