Lincoln solves its trash dilemma

LINCOLN — The Lincoln selectboard has been searching for an alternative to its longtime trash hauler since Casella Waste Systems announced last May it could keep coming to Lincoln, but for a much heftier price.
At its Oct. 18 meeting, the selectboard reached an agreement with Moose Rubbish and Recycling to take over trash hauling and recycling services in town.
The good news for residents is that the new agreement with Moose means business as usual, in terms of when and where trash is picked up and how much it costs residents per bag.
“The good thing is that Randy Orvis is the owner of Moose, and he was brought up in Lincoln,” said selectboard Chair Bill Finger. “He’s in Shoreham now, but he has a connection.”
Moose already provides trash and recycling service to Bridport, Shoreham and Starksboro, according to the Addison County Solid Waste Management District (ACSWMD).
Because of Lincoln’s geographical isolation up against the Green Mountains and changes in the trash and recycling industries, the selectboard had been striking out in its attempts to interest other haulers. Additionally, the selectboard had turned over and rejected a number of options, including switching to curbside pickup, opening up the town’s transfer station on Downingville Road to residents outside of Lincoln so as to generate more revenue, or even leasing its own truck and carting Lincoln waste to the ACSWMD transfer station in Middlebury.
“Anything’s possible as long as you pay for it,” Finger said in interview last month.
Finger described the arrangement with Moose as “a different kind of a deal.”
Details, as described by Finger and detailed in the Oct. 18 selectboard minutes, include:
•  The agreement is for five years, after which time the town can renew, renegotiate or look elsewhere.
•  Lincoln will purchase two 40-yard gooseneck trailers, which Moose will use to haul Lincoln’s trash and recycling to the transfer station in Middlebury. Finger explained that Moose had been interested in the Lincoln contract but did not have the truck capacity to add Lincoln.
•  After five years, title to the trailers will be transferred to Moose.
•  Residents will still drop off trash and recycling on Saturdays.
•  Residents will pay Moose $5 a bag for trash, with recycling at no additional cost, as per usual. If ACSWMD’s cost per ton goes up by a certain amount, explained Finger, Moose can raise the cost per bag to residents.
•  Lincoln will continue its sticker program, to identify residents’ vehicles at the trash drop-off.
•  Moose itself will pay the tipping fees for Lincoln’s trash and recycling at ACSWMD. Tipping fees are ACSWMD’s per ton charge for trash and for recycling.
“In the end we all win,” said Finger.
Over the five years of the agreement, Finger said the town would recoup the cost of the two trailers through what it did not have to pay out in tipping fees or in other monthly or weekly fees for a hauling service.
The arrangement with Moose keeps the cost of disposing of trash and recycling at slightly less than the status quo, said Finger. The town has been paying Casella roughly $900 a month to haul out recycling and $600 a week for trash. Other arrangements, including sticking with Casella but with the renegotiated contract, would have cost residents more, Finger said. An additional benefit, Finger said, is that the arrangement with Moose is straightforward. He describes Casella’s new formula for what it would charge to haul trash and recycling as very complex in the way it was tied to changing trash and recycling markets.
Moose will begin collecting Lincoln’s trash and recycling in early December, Finger said.

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