Pre-XMas Cardboard Drop-Off Set For This Holiday Season At Belmont DPW Yard

Photo: Cardboard drop-off will occur on Dec. 18 at the DPW Yard

With a record number of packages set to be delivered to US homes this holiday season, it’s expected Americans like those living in Belmont will be desperate finding a way to depose of the mountains of cardboard boxes their gifts came in.

“I already have cardboard piling up,” admitted Select Board Chair Adam Dash.

In fact, calls and texts to Belmont town and elected officials on just that subject began in October, Department of Public Works Director Jay Marcotte told the Board at its Monday, Nov. 15 meeting.

Well, the town has heard those pleas and announced it will hold its cardboard “event” in which residents can relieve themselves of the burden of corrugated fiberboard by coming down to the DPW with the cardboard in tow. And this year, it will take place before Christmas.

“We’re trying to say ahead of the curve,” said Marcotte of the predicted tsunami of spent packaging.

The drop-off will take place on:

Saturday, Dec. 18 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the DPW Yard. A $5 fee will be required when residents sign up for the event. The sign up process using the Recreation Department’s website will be announced in the next weeks.

Select Board’s Vice Chair Roy Epstein advocated for the fee and at least 100 pre-registrants as a threshold for holding a drop-off.

“I’m not looking to make money just trying to cover costs,” said Dash.

A fee and minimum required participants shouldn’t be a problem if what occurred 10 months ago is any measure. At last season’s only drop off on Jan. 9 at which time the $5 fee was first introduced, 348 vehicles left a whopping 10 tons of cardboard filling five box containers and several of the DPW’s loading bays. The combination of the fee revenue and the amount received on the sale of the cardboard, Belmont made a $250 “profit” over expenses of $2,640.

“That was a lot of cardboard,” said Marcotte.

Vote On Town’s Real World ‘Experiment’ On Need For DPW Fuel Tanks Set For Tuesday

Photo: Will this be the location of Belmont’s “fuel supply” for town vehicles?

An three month “experiment” using the local gas stations as the prime supply for the town’s nearly 180 vehicles could be voted on this week to determine the real world impact of removing the town’s municipal fuel tanks.

The Select Board is holding its second public forum on the possible replacement of the two 6,000 gallon underground fuel tanks at the DPW yard off C Street. On the agenda will be a discussion and possible vote on the trial program for off-site fueling of town-owned vehicles at the neighborhood service station including fire engines, police cars, highway department snow removal equipment and Belmont Light repair trucks.

A preview of the forum took place at the Select Board’s Monday Sept 19 meeting as Glenn Clancy, the director of the Department of Community Development, who is leading the Herculean effort to determine the future of the tanks and the size of the tanks that would supply the town vehicles. While the first forum on Aug. 3 focused on the topic of insuring above and underground tanks, residents opposed to the town’s “large” tanks at the June Town Meeting took to surveying gas stations as an alternative of the town’s fuel supply. It soon became an issue those residents took to heart as one reason to remove the tanks.

In response to several board members to wanted an analysis conducted, Clancy presented to the board a highly-detailed draft report (the main report is 13 table-laden pages with a large number of supporting data) on the fuel consumption for all the town’s 179 vehicles in fiscal year 2020 from July 1 2019 to June 30, 2020. The culmination of three months of work, Clancy studied the when and how much each vehicle consumed either diesel or unleaded gas .

“The report is supported by a lot of data, there’s a lot of information in there in terms of consumption when and where,” Clancy told the board of the draft that took three months to prepare.

“The report will be the centerpiece of the next fuel forum,” Clancy said, culminating with the board possible approving one of two recommendations: the first is allow diesel fuel to remain at the DPW yard.

This is going to show whether you save money or lose money, but it’s not going to show if we have a Blizzard of ‘78 whether or not we’re going to be completely screwed because we’re going to private stations that [will be] closed for two weeks

Adam Dash, Chair Belmont Select Board

The second is what Clancy dubbed the “experiment” in which the town vehicles will fuel up at the town’s nine private service stations from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The trail will take place over three months beginning Oct. 15 with the hope it will “capture at least one snow event.”

The trial will produce “real world experience” using a gas station vs. the pumps at the Town Yard.

Clancy said the department heads who rely on the fleet have been informed of the possible trial.

“My hope is that at the end of the [Sept. 28] forum, the public and the board both agree that it makes sense for us to move forward with that [experiment],” said Clancy.

On area the report has analyzed is the cost difference using private gas stations and the town’s current practice of being a member of a fuel consortium with a dozen eastern Massachusetts communities that purchases fuel at a group discount. Clancy’s data indicates the town saving up to $14,700 if it remains in the partnership.

Board Vice Chair Roy Epstein said the draft “is really an enormous amount of work and I think it provides the basis for a much more informed discussion of this issue,” adding the report’s detail analysis provides “the rational for keeping diesel at the DPW yard.”

Yet Epstein noted making conclusions with data over several years can be troublesome as underlying economic factors – recessions, Covid downturn, unsustainable recoveries – must be factored into the analysis as well as calculating productivity effects when fueling at the private service station vs. at the DPW yard and the special case of police vehicles fueling at the DPW yard rather than at a service station because they operate a third shift.

“Predictions are not guarantees but in terms of making predications, that [the data] is reliable,” said Epstein.

Clancy noted part of the goal of the three month trail is to look at those types of operational issues “and see whether or not they work.”

Adam Dash, the board’s chair who said he would want to hear public comment before a vote after the forum either on the 28th or Oct. 4 when the board is scheduled to meet, said his major concern is fuel security.

“This is going to show whether you save money or lose money, but it’s not going to show if we have a blizzard of ‘78 whether or not we’re going to be completely screwed because we’re going to private stations that [will be] closed for two weeks,” said Dash.

January Cardboard Event Will Cost You To Drop Off The Holiday Packaging

Photo: Cardboard collection day is coming in January.

For the first time since it began two years ago, the next town cardboard event will have something extra: a $5 fee per resident will be required during the next drop off day coming after the holidays in early January.

While his fellow board members believe that including a fee will sow confusion and hard feelings among residents, Board Chair Roy Epstein is so convinced the fee based drop off will be a success, he pledged to make up any deficit out of his own pocket.

The cardboard event – which will be the first since June – will take place on Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Department of Public Works Yard at the end of C Street.

Jay Marcotte, Department of Public Works director, restated his opinion of two weeks previous on Nov. 9, that the only practical way to hold the drop off session is on the weekend with a fee to offset the $2,000 the event will cost the town.

“I would never as the department head agree to … getting rid of planned overtime with the expectation that I would still going to offer that service,” said Marcotte, who said residents are increasingly calling his office on when the next cardboard collection day will take place.

(Cardboard drop offs is a relatively new service, starting after the introduction of automated trash pickup in 2018.)

While suggestions were made to have the service during the workweek, “I don’t see how we would be able to safely conduct an event with a couple hundred cars … blocking up Waverly and C streets,” said Marcotte, noting he would be required to take a crew off of their normal work schedule to run the event.

Board member Tom Caputo countered the need for a fee drop off saying imposing onto residents a new cost would simply create confusion and frustration among the citizenry. Epstein felt that his colleague was “underestimating the ability of our residents to deal with something as simple as a cardboard program.”

“We’re talking about 200 or 300 households out of 10,000 [in Belmont],” he said. “It’s a convenience for a very small number of people in the scheme of things,” Epstein said.

The Select Board’s Adam Dash pondered if holding a potentially money losing fee-based event was worth doing in the first place. At $5 a pop, it’s unlikely the town will see the 300 vehicles needed to break even, said Dash.

“I’ll tell you what, Adam, I personally will make up the shortfall. You can quote me on that,” said Epstein.

What all side did agree on was the need for advanced notice to residents via the media and town signage on the new fee.

“We need to be clear why this is ,,, an unusual year and this is an unusual situation and we apologize” for requiring a fee, said Dash.

The DPW will also set up a pre-payment plan using the town’s Recreation Department website – which can accept credit and debit cards – along with information for contact tracing.

That day payments will also be accepted but it will take longer to process those residents due to the information they’ll need to write out the information required by the Health Department.

Cardboard Drop-Off On Saturday, Jan. 25, At Town Yard

Photo: Cardboard drop-off on Saturday.

Do you have too much cardboard for your recycling cart? Then come to the DPW cardboard drop-off event on Saturday, Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Town Yard at the end of C Street off Waverley Street.

This drop-off is for Belmont residents only, so bring ID verifying your address.

It is important to flatten all cardboard to keep the line moving. The DPW will not take cardboard that has been wet or not flattened. Details below.

DPW Recycling Day Oct. 19; Cardboard, Paper Shredding on Oct. 26

Photo: DPW recycling is here!

The Belmont Department of Public Works will be holding it’s next Recycling Day on Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. at the DPW Yard at 37 C St.

Cardboard drop off and paper shredding will take place on Oct. 26 from 9 to noon at the same location.

The material that will be recycled on Oct. 19 include (click on each item for more information)

BOSTON BUILDING RESOURCES –

ANIMAL RESCUE LEAGUE – Separate towels and sheets from your textiles to donate to this organization. 

CIRCLE OF HOPE – Donate new and gently used clothing of all ages especially shoes and Mens Clothing, towels, sheets and blankets

RIGID PLASTICS – Will Not Be Collected

STYROFOAM – Will Not Be Collected (Company out of Business)

Belmont Police’s Prescription Drug Drop Off at DPW Yard Sat. April 28

Photos: Prescription drugs.

The Belmont Police Department in conjunction with the Belmont Auxiliary Police and the DEA will be hosting a Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative to prevent the abuse and theft of old, unused and expired prescription drugs at the DPW Yard, 37 C St., on Saturday April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Old or unused prescription drugs (no liquids) may be dropped off for free with no questions asked. You won’t even have to get out of your car.

Prescription drugs are highly susceptible to misuse by family and friends. In addition they can be improperly disposed of and end up in our environment, posing a potential health hazard. Please take some time to check your medicine cabinet and visit the DPW next weekend.

For more information on the Rx Drug Take Back Initiative or a list of additional collection sites visit www.dea.gov . Residents can also contact Belmont Police Lt. Kristin Daley at kdaley@belmontpd.org. The police also has a permanent Rx drug collection kiosk located in the lobby of the police station that is accessible 24/7.