BRANDON — Negotiations with the proposed new transfer station operator will begin where talks with the current company ended, according to Select Board members.
For the past several years, Earth, Waste and Metal (EWM), based in Rutland City, has operated the town transfer station. Issues with the contract, centered around which entity is responsible for infrastructure upkeep, plus changes in the recycling market brought both sides to the negotiating table with the end result being EWM saying it would no longer operate the facility come Sept. 1. That left the Select Board looking for a new operator, eventually turning to one of its own, Tracy Wyman, who has recused himself from board discussions on the matter.
The board held a special meeting Tuesday where it was decided that negotiations with Wyman would start from the last offer the town made towards EWM, Selectman Tim Guiles said Thursday.
Guiles said the main elements of the last offer to EWM held that the town would subsidize the cost of recycling, making it free to users of the transfer station. The town would also put some funds into maintaining the facility. In the short term, that means installing a heated building and doing some snow plowing. Guiles said adding scales may come later, but for right now Wyman has said he won’t need scales. The scales were an issue for EWM, as they don’t work and the business needs them to operate there effectively.
The town had also agreed to be flexible about rent, raising or lowering the price depending on how robust the recycling market is, Guiles said.
Select Board Chairman Seth Hopkins said Thursday that Town Manager Dave Atherton will meet with Wyman either Friday or Monday to finalize a contract for board approval. Hopkins said it’s not clear yet how much recycling the town will subsidize, or if Wyman will be allowed to raise the price of trash collection to compensate.
According to minutes from the Tuesday meeting, Atherton sought another local operator, Denton and Sons, but that company was too busy to take on the transfer station. The minutes say Guiles was authorized to thank the owners of EWM, Kevin and Stephanie Elnicki, for their service, and to return their last two rent checks, totaling $1,400, as a way of easing the transition.
“The Elnickis were feeling pinched by the growing cost of recycling, and the Select Board was coming to understand that the town of Brandon will need to subsidize some of the cost of recycling in the future if we are going to meet our state of (Vermont) 2050 recycling goals,” said Guiles in a Tuesday email.