ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health credits public pressure to keep the town's byways clean with a reduction in reports of annoying dog waste.
Board of Health member Bruce Shepley said with new signage on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail and public awareness there seems to be fewer dog feces on the trail.
"I haven't heard any complaints and I haven't seen anything on social media," he said Wednesday. "The trail looks pristine."
During the winter thaw, a group of residents fed up with the amount of dog poop on the rail trail and throughout town attended a Board of Health meeting to complain. This sparked more agitation among residents and on social media causing the town to take some action.
Selectman James Bush attended the meeting and said the town has installed signs on the trail encouraging people to clean up after their animals. He added that the new parking meter reader /animal control officer position will add a new level of enforcement.
Bush went on to say the town also plans to place trash barrels along the trail but with smaller openings that would allow people to throw away dog poop bags but not household garbage.
Shepley thought the public's interest in keeping the town clean was one of the main forces behind the improved conditions.
"We are making progress and I know this will be an ongoing issue but with the awareness and the citizens that came forward this continues to be addressed favorably," he said. "We have a plan in place."
The board also met with Linda Cernik, program director of the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District to discuss brush collection at the transfer station.
"We have to clean up that mess we have there now," Bush said.
Historically the town has collected brush at the transfer station however the pile has grown to a point where it will cost near $15,000 to hire someone to do the chipping.
"We haven't addressed it directly and we have to do it but everything has a price," Shepley said. "The bottom line is economics and many other towns have stopped accepting brush and if we can't afford it, we may have to stop."
The service has been free but the town has considered eliminating it because of the cost. The town suspects landscapers have been taking advantage of the service.
The board discussed possibly partnering with a private contractor to do the chipping.
"If it is chipped and taken away it can be repurposed," Cernik said.
The board agreed to reach out to Town Administrator Jay Green to see if this is a possibility.
In other business, the board agreed to strike some continuing items from its agendas and will no longer consider implementing a dumpster fee.
"I would like to table this indefinitely ... we are not doing anything to draw people into the community and I don't think imposing another fee would help," Shepley said.
The concept came up when the board discussed updating the fee schedule.
After some research, Shepley sound that although some communities have this permit fee, it is not widely practiced.
Over the past few months the board also discussed scrappers registering with the town much like trash haulers but it was found that this was not widely practiced either.
"I think we should put this to rest because there are already mechanisms in place and I am not sure if we want to create a registry of those who scrap," Shepley said.
He said there are already regulations that put the notice on scrap yards. He said they have to record who unloads scrap and what they bring in.
He said if the town were to get involved somehow they would have to way to enforce any of this.
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