At the April 28 meeting of the Town Council, Town Manager Sean Kimball raised the possibility of bringing back the popular bulk waste pickup service.
In walking through the Town’s revenue and expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year, Kimball hinted that the town could possibly use a COVID-19 grant to help offset some of the expenses associated with bulk waste pickup, which deals with large, heavy items discarded by residents.
“In 2019 we had a record amount of tonnage in our bulky waste pick up, and I know a lot of Cheshire residents and Town officials are curious about whether this is something we can bring back this year,” Kimball explained. “We originally appropriated $290,000 but the process ended up costing us $293,712 and we had 1,451 tons of bulk waste.”
Planning for bulk waste pickup for the next fiscal year will be difficult due to several unknowable variables, but Kimball was able to come up with a rough estimate of what bulk waste pickup would cost the town if it were to be implemented.
“While we can’t really gauge the tonnage for what we could get this year—I am not sure with COVID-19 if people would have less bulk waste or more,” Kimball detailed, “but If we guess it’ll be around 1,500 tons, and the cost for removal at about $100 per ton, we would be looking at a cost of $300,000 to $325,000 for (the service).”
Town Councilor Don Walsh asked Kimball if some of the funds the Town has received from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) due to the COVID-19 pandemic might be able to be diverted to bulky waste pick up.
“Is there a way we can get some of the COVID-19 money to cover this so we aren’t putting it as an expense under our regular expenditures?” he asked.
“That is the hope,” Kimball answered. “Possibly is the key word. We don’t have definitive answers yet but yes, I think this could certainly fall into the category of health hazards due to people being home all the time and doing home improvements. I definitely think we have an argument there.”
Councilor Walsh added that he has heard from several residents as to how much they would like to see bulk waste pickup resume this year.
While no decision was made at the meeting regarding the servce, Kimball indicated that more information as to whether funds from the ARP can be used for bulk waste pickup will come after May 11.