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Cheshire Selectmen Question Transfer Station Hours

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The new reduced hours for the transfer station has led to complaints that had to be fielded recently the Board of Selectmen. 

The Selectmen on Tuesday questioned the Board of Health on its reasoning for the 40 percent reduction that has drawn multiple complaints from residents.

"People are very aware of the fact that it is now closed on Monday," Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said. "Maybe there will be fewer complaints when people get used to it. I don't know."

As of July 1, instead of being open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the site is only open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and for fewer hours.

The Board of Health members said they made these changes to try to right-size the transfer station hours to better reflect use and to reduce operational costs to bring the station closer to being cost neutral.

"We are trying to limit the number of hours to effectively be a transfer station that will suit the community ... our hours are twice sometimes three times what other communities have," Board of Health member Jeffrey Warner said. "It has just been a free for all."

Board of Health member Rick Salvi said hauling costs go up every year so it is a challenge to keep the cost of operating the transfer station low.

Francesconi noted that the transfer station was closed Wednesday because of the Independence Day holiday, which caused some issues.

"The Friday after Fourth of July was a fiasco down there," she said. "People were waiting in line forever."

The board members agreed that they can make arrangements in the future if there are weekday holidays.

Board of Health member Rick Salvi said they chose to close on Monday because 12 of the annual holidays fall on a Monday and the station is closed anyway. As for Tuesdays, he said they try to work around the transfer station attendant's schedule. The attendant has a second job and is unavailable on Tuesdays.

Francesconi added that she was told that a member of the Board of Health used the transfer station when it was closed on a Monday.

"A member of the Board of Health dumped their trash on Monday and I find about it. It does not look good because the dump is closed on Monday," Francesconi said. "It just doesn't look good, guys. When it is closed on Monday it should be closed on Monday."

Board of Health member Mickey Biagini said he did bring some metal down and that he would not do it again.

"It was convenient for me and I figured I do enough for the Board of Health. I didn't think it would be an issue," he said.

Warner said he thinks people will get used to the new hours.

"This is all new to the town and it takes a while to get used to," he said.

In other business, Highway Superintendent Blair Crane said the town's roller was damaged last week after a car crashed into it.

"He hit it pretty hard," he said. "No one was hurt but the roller is not in good shape and neither is the Firebird."

Crane said the driver of a 1985 Firebird veered into the other lane coming down West Mountain Road and hit the parked roller.

"He veered up over some concrete steps over Outlook Avenue and hit the roller," he said. "He hit it with the passenger side of the vehicle and pushed the roller out into the road with the brakes on so the roller has taken some heavy damage."

Crane said he is still working through the insurance paperwork, but the roller is not operational at this point. He added the roller itself is no longer flat.

The selectmen also agreed to rent a portable toilet for the Cheshire Elementary School grounds to keep hikers from relieving themselves on the property.

"After 8, they have no access to the bathrooms, so they have been using the school property usually in front of the superintendent's office," Francesconi said. "Not in the woods so we really need to get something over there."

Now that St. Mary's Church is not open 24 hours, Appalachian Trail thru-hikers have limited bathroom options. 

Tags: board of health,   transfer station,   

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