PEPPERELL -- Public Works Director Kenneth Kalinowski expressed his pride to the Board of Public Works after the Water Division received the MassDEP's Public Water System Award for Medium and Large Community.
This marks the third year in a row that Pepperell's water system has been recognized. Only 12 communities were recognized this year for this category. The award ceremony was held May 7 at Springfield Community College.
Kalinowski also recognized Wastewater Treatment Plant employees William Walsh and Joe Gilbert for their recent licensing upgrades. Walsh received his Grade 3 Wastewater Treatment License and Gilbert his Grade 2 license.
Marsha Zaniboni and Virginia Malouin from the Council on Aging returned to the board to petition for an accommodation for seniors who use the transfer station.
Zaniboni said some seniors are cost-sensitive and will hold the standard 39-gallon bag until it is full, sometimes creating a health issue where they reside.
Zaniboni also noted that the full 39-gallon bags are sometimes too heavy for a senior or physically challenged resident to put into a vehicle and remove.
"Of primary concern to the town is the extent of the problem. In that it's not really feasible or cost effective for us to enact a significant policy modification such as a differing set of bag tags or colored bag system for an extremely small demographic," said Kalinowski.
Kalinowski noted that some accommodation is already made at the transfer station for seniors and others who need assistance with removing the 39-gallon bags from their vehicles.
"All they really need to do is toot the horn and someone will be out to provide some service," he said.
"The seniors are assuming they have to put the tag on the bag no matter what size bag they bring," said Zaniboni. "No one has mentioned that they do get assistance," she said.
"We will help you. Some people are just extremely proud and just don't want help," said Kalinowski.
"This is their town. This is their community. They have a duty and are urged to take care of the people in it," said Commissioner Greg Rice, who noted that the team at the transfer station is always willing to help.
The board agreed that an alternative solution might be warranted, with Kalinowski agreeing to look at a more formalized approach to what is already offered.
"A senior or the physically handicapped person doesn't have a DPW person at home to help load those bags into the car. And last year there was a 40 percent increase for the price of stickers for seniors and an 11 percent increase for the bag tags. This is Pepperell. I think the majority of people are honest, and you're not going to have a problem if you simply cut a bag tag in half," said Virginia Malouin.
"We have considerable experience with that," said Rice.
"We did have a lot of trouble with bag tags cut in half," he said.
Kalinowski agreed to report back to the board at the next meeting with a recommendation on how to proceed.
The board voted unanimously to renew the DPW director's contract for another three years. The new contract reflects a 0.8 percent increase, to bring the salary for the first year of the contract to $94,000.
The board approved a water abatement for 5 Bemis Road in the amount of $21.85 and an abatement against 11 past due accounts totaling $395. These represented closed accounts, each amounting to less than $100, which could not be collected.
The board approved a Drain Layer's License for R.M. Ratta Corp. of Ayer.