TOWNSEND -- Selectmen decided last week to poll residents on whether they would like to pay for weekly recycling pick-up before bringing a vote to Town Meeting floor.

In a nonbinding referendum on the ballot for the April 28 election, voters will voice their opinions on whether they would support the move toward weekly recycling pick-up, at a cost of $71,000 annually.

"We want to just be very mindful of what folks really want," Selectmen Chairman Sue Lisio said.

Representatives from the Board of Health had asked selectmen to put the question before Town Meeting in May. But since funding the project would require a Proposition 2 1/2 override, selectmen asked that a poll be done before bringing the decision directly to voters.

Voters may also be polled in a survey to be included with next year's town census.

"If you simply are looking to poll the town, I'm not sure if an override is the best way to poll them," Lisio said.

The town, which mandates recycling, currently offers bi-weekly pick-up. But with the amount of trash people can put out decreasing every year, for many, the recycling is piling up too quickly, Board of Health member James LeCuyer said.

"We've got to do something," LeCuyer said. "It's a changing world going to recycling and I've got a very strong instinct that people are going to want to be doing weekly recycling."

LeCuyer said some of the cost of the program could be offset by savings from declining trash tonnage.


"I think it's going to be a better program all the way around, and I don't think in the long run it's going to cost that amount of money," LeCuyer said.

The request was prompted in part by new trash limits, which go into effect July 1. On that date, the amount of curbside trash a household can put out will go from 96 gallons to 64 gallons. Recycling will remain unlimited.

Residents can also bring their recycling to the town's Recycling Center on the first and third Saturday of every month.

The town enforces mandatory recycling through a grant-funded Recycling Enforcement Coordinator position. The coordinator issues warnings and eventually fines to those who do not obey trash limits, or those who include recyclable materials with their trash.