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North Adams Increasing Waste Disposal Prices

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Residents will see a price hike in transfer station bags of 25 to 50 cents beginning in July and a scale rate jump of less than a penny per pound. This is expected to cost the average family of four about $53 more a year to dispose of their trash.
The Public Services Committee is recommending the adoption of the new prices for fiscal 2022 after reviewing the figures on Wednesday. The City Council passed the changes to a second reading and publication at its June 8 meeting, with referral to Public Services. The full council is expected to give final approval Tuesday.
The fees at the transfer station are based on costs of labor and disposal of waste, which has continued to rise. 
The cost of a 33-gallon bag will rise 50 cents to $3 and 15-18 gallon bags by 25 cents to $1.50. This is the first bag increase in two years. The scale rate per ton will increase from 0.0667 cents to 0.0749 cents, from $133.45 to $149.83, or $52.97.
The average family generates 4.9 pounds of trash a day, according to the U.S. Environmental Agency, but this also takes into account food waste. The city is still using the older figure of 4.43 pounds for solid waste and garbage. 
This will translate to about 3.2 tons of waste a year for a family of four or $544.54 including the sticker cost of $60 which comes with two bags. 
The transfer station anticipates a cost of $467,537.40 dispose of about 4,500 tons of trash this coming year. This includes a contracted cost per ton of $86.58 and $103.90 cost per ton for city trash, illegal dumping, the two "free" bags, stickers and recycling. The addition of labor, utilities, supplies, benefits and miscellaneous brings the total budget to $674,237.30.
"We're in the process of entering into a new contract with our provider, and we know that those costs will go up," Mayor Thomas Bernard said at the last City Council meeting. "So we're trying to represent accurately the cost of operations for the transfer station."
An additional laborer is being added by transferring what was an unfilled position in the Highway Department to the transfer station. This is being required by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The total cost for wages and overtime for foreman, laborers, scale operators and monitors comes to $126,298.24.
The sales of resident ($60), non-resident ($80) and commercial ($85) stickers is expected to bring in $112,440. The transfer station no longer accepts large haulers, and is considered a small-scale operation, but it does expect to sell 202 commercial permits for small haulers and commercial-plate vehicles. This is an increase from the past two years.
All other fees will remain the same as well as the current hours and days the transfer station is open.
The mayor said the more recent practice of not accepting cash at the transfer station will continue as well accepting debit/credit cards in advance for haulers. 
"It's just good practice," he said, and as for charge accounts for small haulers, "in looking at it, we have had situations where those accounts become liabilities to the city."
Correction: an error in the per-ton figure has been corrected.

Tags: fiscal 2022,   transfer station,   

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Coronavirus Outbreak Hits North Adams; Gov, Health Officials Urge Vaccination

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A significant outbreak of COVID-19 at a local nursing home is highlighting the dangers of the highly transmissible Delta variant. 
North Adams Commons reported three vaccinated residents with infections as of Friday morning; a leaked internal email from Berkshire Health Systems posted on Facebook ups that number to 20 infections in both residents and staff, all of whom are vaccinated. 
The email is signed by BHS' Dr. James W. Lederer, chief medical officer, who on Thursday stressed to iBerkshires that anyone who had not been vaccinated should do so immediately. 
The Delta variant has been moving across the state and there have been significant outbreaks in the eastern portion of the state, particularly parts of Cape Cod. While most of those vaccinated may only be slightly affected if at all, it may cause more serious illness particularly in those with compromised immune systems. Public health officials say vaccination is the best way to prevent spread; the majority of those hospitalized across the nation are unvaccinated. 
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