ADAMS, Mass. — Williams College students are embarking on a study to inform North Adams' decision of whether to rejoin the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District.
Program Director Linda Cernik told the waste district's commission on Thursday that she met with city officials and students from the college in Williamstown, a district member, to go over the next steps of the city reunification.
"We have had some really great meetings ... and I am really excited," Cernik said. "I am really humbled and excited that Williams College is taking on this project. I think it really speaks volumes."
This summer, the city approached the district inquiring about rejoining. Particularly, North Adams was interested in coordinated events, outreach, and educational opportunities the district offers.
Cernik said students will look at the pros and cons of North Adams joining the district -- specifically where the city fits into the district.
The study will llook at the possibility of the city's transfer station becoming the regional hub or the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM). The transfer station could be the intake center for e-waste, brush, mattresses, tires, and other items that fall out of the common categories of paper and glass.
"We want to be able to go to a City Council meeting and go over the project," she said. "How is it going to work, is it going to work, and how can North Adams become the hub for recycling for the district so the smaller towns don't have to absorb those large costs?"
She said the Williams students should start their research in earnest in the coming weeks and should be wrapped up by the end of the year.
Cernik said she also held a meeting with representatives from Dalton who are interested in joining the district as well.
"Certainly no conclusions were drawn but they are at a point where they think they want to join the district but they are not sure," Williamstown representative Timothy Kaiser, who also attended the meeting, said. "They need to evaluate what we offer and see it meets their needs and is worth the price of admission."
Kaiser said Dalton has a strange arrangement in a contractor handles all of its solid waste needs and the town just cuts a check. He suspects this is becoming too expensive.
Windsor representative Douglas McNally said he thought Dalton had a lot of work to do if it wanted to join the district.
"North Adams has a very sophisticated operation on their own," he said. " The Dalton site is not sophisticated and they would really have to clean up their act to meet our standards."
If Dalton decides to join the district and if negotiations with North Adams are successful, Cernik said it would be optimal to get the two communities into the fold as soon as possible. With contracts expiring in the summer of 2020, the district wants as much buying power as it can get.
Cernik did say the ultimate goal would be to bring the entire county into the district.
In other business, she said Recycling Dividends grants should be coming in for each community in the district and that they should start thinking about what the money should be spent on.
"Those are expected any time and I think most of the towns are going to get an increase," she said.
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