BRANDON — The town wants to return to the negotiating table with the company managing its transfer station.
It was decided after some discussion at a Select Board meeting Monday that selectmen Tim Guiles and Doug Bailey will speak to Earth Waste and Metal about negotiating the transfer station contract.
Earth Waste and Metal, based in Rutland City, has a contract to lease and manage the transfer station at 61 Corona St. The contract was last renewed in 2017, but there have been issues, specifically that it’s vague as to who is responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the station’s buildings and equipment, which the town owns. For Earth Waste and Metal, the main problem is the station’s scales, which the company says no longer function, which is resulting in a revenue loss for the company.
Things came to a head earlier this spring when Stephanie Elnicki, spokeswoman and administrator for Earth Waste and Metal, sent a letter to the town requesting that rent be waived for 2019. Elnicki said in an April interview that she’s raised these issues with the town before.
The company has withheld rent for January, February and March, but Elnicki said in April all bills are now paid. According to draft minutes from the Monday board meeting, the company is now current on its rent. It was decided at an April Select Board meeting that Guiles would contact Elnicki to discuss the matter. Guiles said he met with Elnicki, Gabe McGuigan, the town’s representative to the Rutland County Solid Waste District, and later Brandon Town Manager David Atherton.
Guiles said the main sticking point seems to be the scales. He said the waste district has a working set of scales people can use if they want, but, “... it seems beneficial, according to Gabe McGuigan, our town is one of the larger towns for waste in the district, and we actually are large enough to have that service; it seems like a benefit we might want to provide our community members.”
He said the scales can be a possible bargaining chip for the town. There are options for funding a purchase that could be explored. The contract, in general, needs to be more specific in certain areas, he said.
“We also need to start talking about a stronger contract that will let us solve the problem of charging for recycling, because that seems to be the one I’m getting the most feedback from,” said Guiles. “A lot of people are contacting me, saying if you charge the same for recycling as trash they’re just going to throw everything away.”
He said it’s also been suggested that the town could, eventually, take over the transfer station. If run properly, the town might see some revenue from it, he said.
Atherton agreed that the contract needs to be more specific.