Salisbury voters face big decision on landfill
SALISBURY — Salisbury officials are lining up a Town Meeting Day vote that will ask residents to close their local landfill and join the Addison County Solid Waste Management District (ACSWMD) for the town’s future waste disposal and recycling.
Salisbury currently operates the last unlined landfill in the state.
“It’s somewhat of a no-brainer,” Salisbury selectboard Chairman Tom Scanlon of the looming decision. “There’s a lifespan to a landfill, and ours is the last unlined landfill in the state. I would rather see it close sooner rather than later, so there are no problems with it in the future, which would carry a liability for the residents of the town. It is subsidized by town tax dollars.”
Scanlon believes most Salisbury residents share his opinion that closing the landfill and joining the ACSWMD is the town’s best option.
“Looking at the past discussion, particularly at the last town meeting, there was an overwhelming number of people in favor,” Scanlon said.
The ACSWMD board on Nov. 15 voted to accept Salisbury into the district. That decision will not become official until the closing of the town’s landfill, which in turn hinges on Salisbury residents endorsing that measure at the ballot box in March.
In addition to having access to the ACSWMD’s transfer station off Route 7 South in Middlebury, Salisbury residents would be able to partake in the district’s special programs, including household hazardous waste collections.
While the Salisbury landfill is still operating, a large portion of it has already been closed, Scanlon noted. The facility recently hosted what could be a final household hazardous waste collection day.
The town of Salisbury already has enough funds in hand to pay the landfill closure, a job that must be done to the specifications of state environmental officials.
Solid waste district Manager Teri Kuczynski said Salisbury residents will be able to take trash to the transfer stage even before the town dump is officially closed.
“Once the draft agreement currently under consideration by the Salisbury selectboard is signed by both the District Board of Supervisors and the Salisbury selectboard,” Kuczynski told the Independent, “the transfer station will accept from the town, and from Salisbury residents and businesses, the items that are accepted from members, upon payment of the tipping and district fees and any other applicable fees then in effect while the town is going through the process of becoming a member of the district.”
Some Salisbury residents might feel a little wistful about closing the “town dump,” which through the years has served as a social hub for folks to chat while getting rid of their refuse.
That tradition will continue, Scanlon stressed, noting a contractor would be selected to receive waste and recyclables from residents — at the same site as the landfill — for delivery to the ACSWMD transfer station.
“That will be our transfer station,” he said. “That will still be the Saturday morning meeting place.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].