Should town rejoin district?
Should the town of Northfield rejoin the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District? Northfield voters face this question in paper ballot voting Nov. 19 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Middle/High School and I would like to offer my reasons in support of a “yes” vote on this question.
The most important reason for rejoining CVSWMD is the statewide need to reduce the amount of solid waste (i.e. trash) going to landfills. CVSWMD has made a commitment to this goal by offering very strong programs for removing recyclables, organic wastes (food scraps, etc.) and construction debris from the solid waste that goes to landfills. Since Vermont now has only one operating landfill, it is essential that we all cooperate to reduce the amount of solid waste it has to accept.
And this reduction of the amount of solid waste going to our one landfill is more than just a practical necessity. It is a legal necessity as well. Vermont law now requires that recyclables, food scraps and construction waste be removed from the solid waste going to landfills in stages between now and 2020.
The simple fact is that CVSWMD is in a much better position to provide Northfield with the assistance we are going to need in complying with these practical and legal realities than the Mad River Resource Alliance. CVSWMD already has the programs in existence and it is a much better fit for Northfield geographically.
My second reason for urging a “yes” vote is financial. The Mad River Resource Alliance is in an uncertain financial position at this time because its budget is heavily subsidized by the Moretown Landfill, which is now closed and may or may not be allowed to reopen. If the Moretown landfill does not reopen, the per capita fee for MRRA will have to increase dramatically and it will still not be able to offer the same programs and geographical proximity offered by the CVSWMD.
It is true that the surcharge imposed by CVSWMD on solid waste tonnage could result in an increase in the per bag fee in Northfield. But households can reduce their costs by recycling. We must reduce our solid waste going to landfills by utilizing the recycling programs which CVSWMD already has in operation. Recycling is more difficult for some people than for others and we must find ways to make it easier for everyone.
For these reasons, my judgment is that voting to rejoin the CVSWMD on Nov. 19 is our best choice for managing solid waste in Northfield.
The writer is a member of the town’s Select Board.
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