Letter to the Editor: Include Four Trash Options In RFP, Not Just One

Photo: Waste contract in Bemont.

To the editor:

I am writing to express my concern and disappointment that Belmont’s Board of Selectmen has issued only a very limited RFP for Belmont’s new trash contract. Belmont’s Board of Selectmen has asked for quotes only for 65-gallon barrel pickup and has ignored the more environmentally-friendly 35-gallon barrel or pay-as-you-throw options. Belmont’s Board of Selectmen has also shirked their financial responsibility to the town by not comparing the costs between different trash pickup options after receiving bids to the RFP.

Massachusetts provides hundreds of thousands of dollars for communities to shift to more environmentally-friendly trash options. Refusing to request bids for both the 35-gallon barrel and pay-as-you-throw options means that we are leaving Commonwealth money on the table that we could use to offset the costs of these options and possibly even reduce our tax burden for trash disposal. The 35-gallon barrel and pay-as-you-throw options could incentivize residents to reduce, reuse, and recycle instead of throwing away.

The Board of Selectmen has not provided reasoning for focusing on only one trash collection type, instead of requesting a wider selection of options for the RFP, explicitly ignoring direct requests for more information about their thought process. The Board of Selectmen must make an educated comparison of the costs for these trash options. They must also act as fiduciaries for our town itself and all of our children by prioritizing more environmentally-friendly trash strategies. Why can they not make these assessments at the information gathering stage of an RFP?

Please join me in emailing Selectmen Paolillo and Williams to ask them to reevaluate their decision. Selectman Dash already supports including environmentally-friendly trash options in the RFP. Belmont should include all four options recommended by the Solid Waste and Recycling Advisory Group in the RFP so that we can weigh the environmental costs and benefits, as well as the financial cost, of the various options after receiving competitive bids from trash contractors.

Rebecca McNeill

Belmont

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