TOWNSEND -- The Board of Health is suspending a reduction in the amount of trash residents can put out pending a Special Town Meeting next month.
The town had been set to implement a two-barrel, 64-gallon limit on weekly trash-pick up beginning July 1, until board member James Le'Cuyer raised objections to the new limits earlier this week, prompting a 2-1 vote in favor of suspending the limits on Monday. Chairman Christopher Genoter was the dissenting vote.
The board voted unanimously Thursday that the existing limit of three barrels, or 99 gallons, will remain in effect through July until residents can vote on whether they want the reduction July 31 at a Special Town Meeting.
The July Special Town Meeting was originally called to address a citizens' petition calling for the town to adopt a non-binding resolution opposing a proposed natural-gas pipeline. Board of Health Administrator Carla Walter said she would submit a warrant article before the warrant closes Monday afternoon.
Le'Cuyer said Thursday he had heard from more than 100 residents who said they were unhappy with the new limits.
"The word out there is that everybody is very upset about the fact that we were going to drop to two bags," Le'Cuyer said Thursday.
Early in Thursday night's meeting, Le'Cuyer attempted to revert back to the town's previous trash contract with G.W. Shaw & Son.
While Shaw's representative Glenn Shaw said he was fine with reverting to the old contract, Genoter and board member Michelle Dold said the town should continue with the negotiated contract going into effect July 1, but amend it to allow for the higher, three-barrel limit.
After residents vote July 31, the contract will either be amended again or continue at three barrels.
Dold said she did not agree with reverting to the old contract, and that her vote Monday night had been to allow voters to decide.
"I agree with you that the people need to decide because there's too many people that want the two bags, there's too many people that want the three bags," Dold said. "It's up in the air, let them vote. That's what we wanted."
Dold said although she wanted the decision to be made by the people, she personally believed the two barrel limit was fair. In her household, she said, eight people produce just two barrels of trash weekly.
"It can be done, it's just people, whether or not they want to do it," she said.
Overflow bags that the town has already purchased, which residents with more than two barrels of trash can buy for $2 a bag at some retailers in town, can still be purchased and used for those who exceed the three-bag limit that will be in place through July.