WINDHAM SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MINUTES OF MEETING
JUNE 12, 2008
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Doris Knechtel, Chair, Newfane; Jane Southworth, Brattleboro; Lester Dunklee and Michelle Cherrier, Dummerston; Elizabeth Frye, Guilford, Tony Gordon and Stillman Vonderhorst, Marlboro; Neal J. Carter, Newfane; Dan Toomey, Putney; Priscilla Margola, Readsboro; Irvin Stowell, Townshend; Mike Coutermanche, Vernon; Nancy Meinhard, Wardsboro; Jan Ameen, Westminster; Clyde Twitchell, Whitingam; and Merrill Mundell, Wilmington.
BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT:
Brookline; Phil Bartlett and Traci Fletcher, Dover; Richard Holden, Guilford; Mitchell Green and Clifton Inman, Halifax; Brian Chapin, Jamaica; David Hannum, Putney; James Damato, Readsboro; Albert Dupell and David Glabach, Stratton; Townshend; Dale Gassett, Vernon;, Whitingham; Tom Consoline, Wilmington; and David Glabach and John Spencer, Winhall.
WSWMD STAFF PRESENT:
George Murray, Executive Director; Paul Grandmaison, Finance Manager; Joseph F. Kowalski, Operations Manager; and Cindy Sterling, Program Coordinator.
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Doris A. Knechtel, Chair.
Introduction of New Supervisors:
Introductions were made by the following newly appointed supervisor present: Mike Coutermarche, Vernon; Nancy Meinhard, Wardsboro and Clyde Twitchell, Whitingham.
1.) April 10, 2008 Minutes:
Motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to approve the Minutes of April 10, 2008 meeting.
2.) Acting Treasurer’s Report:
· Check Registers: Mr. Grandmaison reviewed and discussed the Check Registers for the months of October, November, December 2007; and January, February, March and April 2008.
Motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to approve the Check Registers for the months of October, November, December 2007; and January, February, March and April 2008.
· Financial Statements: Mr. Grandmaison reviewed with the Supervisors the Financial Statements for the Six and Nine months ending March 31, 2008.
Mr. Grandmaison stated that his impression is that the District is in pretty good shape as compared to budget. On page two there are a couple of additions to property and equipment such as an overhead door at approximately $20,000; and a front door at $3,000; as well as some other items which weren’t budgeted totaling approximately $37,000 in fixed assets.
Mr. Grandmaison stated, just for the new Supervisors, that page 4 is a statement he has to generate for the Financial Statements to be in accordance with General Accepted Accounting Procedures (GAAP) and this page is pretty much duplicated on page 5. Only page 5 is the more relevant page for discussion purposes. The difference between page 4 and 5 is that page 5 groups all of the budgeted line items on to the upper half of the page. Looking at page 5 you can compare actual expenditures to budget and for this quarter. He pointed out that total revenue for the District is $88,000 better than budgeted which is mainly due to the sale of recycled materials. To date, budgeted expenditures are $20,000 better than budget due to various reasons. Mr. Grandmaison stated the Supervisors would be able to see the fluctuations on the following pages.
After discussion concerning wages and benefits, Mr. Grandmaison projected that the District will probably be ending the year with actual better than budget of $130,000. Approximately $30,000 of that amount went towards buying new assets such as the overhead door. .
Motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to approve the Financial Statements for the Quarter Ending March 31, 2008.
3.) Finance Committee Report:
Mr. Mundell reported that the Finance Committee met earlier and they did discuss the Financial Statement and Check Register with the Finance Manager. They also discussed the possibilities of funding the assessment through the haulers which would partially do away with the assessments to the towns.
Mr. Murray explained to the new Board members that the District has equipment that needs to be replaced on a periodic basis. Over time the District has used surplus monies to reduce assessments to the towns rather than putting it into capital replacement and it has now caught up with us. He noted that the last time a roll-off truck was replaced was a year and a half ago. Mr. Murray continued that the Post Closure account has some income that comes into the fund on an annual basis through the redemption of bonds and that have been used on occasion by the District over the years. Two years ago the Board voted to use $87,000 of the surplus post closure funds to purchase the roll-off truck. There is other equipment that needs to be replaced: the oldest truck which is a 2001 has approximately 300,000 miles on it; a 1995 pick-up truck which did pass inspection but needs rear spring shackles which are rusting off as well as the bumper which is rusted and ready to fall off. The problem being, at this point in time, there is no surplus money available.
Mr. Murray stated that over the last five to six months the Board has been having small planning meetings for those who wanted to attend and to discuss various ways of funding the replacement of this equipment. One means would be to borrow from the Vermont Bond Bank as most municipalities do, or to do five year loans from Banks but in order to do that we need to have a District wide vote. He continued that they have also looked at leasing since we can lease without it being on the financials but on an annual renewable lease. If funds are not approved by the next year’s lease than the equipment goes back to the vendor. We also discussed taking money out of the post closure funds since there is approximately $850,000 to $950,000 worth of bonds which the District currently owns. The downside to this would be the District would be left on the far end without those funds for post closure care. Mr. Murray wondered why not use one of the bonds as a bank and pay the money back as we would a lease or a loan. Another aspect of funding within the State of Vermont for solid waste districts is a waste surcharge. The annual budget for the Windham Solid Waste District is assessed to member towns based on population and becomes part of the towns’ tax roll and the towns pay quarterly out of their tax revenue. With the waste surcharge the District has the ability to assess a fee on every ton of waste generated within the District much like the State’s $6.00 franchise tax on garbage generated within Vermont or brought into the State. This fee is paid by the haulers who are responsible for the ultimate disposal of that waste. This is an issue which has been discussed in the past. However, the Board historically has embraced the assessment part of it based on population with the understanding that the majority of the work for recycling which is done in the District is done by residential sector and not commercial or industrial. Our assessment is about $9.00 per person annually. If the Board kept the $9.00 per person assessment and elected to go with a $5.00 per ton surcharge at 29 tons per year it would net the District approximately $145,000 on an annual basis that could be set aside for capital replacement.. Going further than that the Board could institute $15.00 per ton surcharge which would eliminate the assessment and generate approximately $445,000 and leave $100,000 for a capital replacement fund on an annual basis. In order to do this the District would have to have a District-wide vote coupled with public education and informational meetings between now and November. If the Board wants to proceed in this direction we could ask to be on the ballot in November. Enforcement would be done by the State. Mr. Murray pointed out that this is a system which has been introduced in other Districts and has been very successful. Discussion ensued and the Supervisors concluded that they might be interested but would like more information in order to make an educated decision.
Mr. Murray stated that most importantly the Board needed to give him and Mr. Kowalski direction on what to do about the pick-up truck and roll-off truck. The old troll-off truck has over 300,000 miles on it and all the used tires from the new truck are being put on the old truck rather than investing in new tires for it. Mr. Kowalski also stated that the old truck is in need of a new clutch, and the cost of maintenance is on par with the cost of replacement. Mr. Mundell recommended before bidding out for a new truck either Mr. Murray or Mr. Kowalski investigate the possibility of purchasing a used vehicles. Due to the high cost of fuel many truckers have parked their nearly new rigs and are anxious to sell them for whatever they can get.
Mr. Kowalski was asked what the cost of a new pick-up would be and he replied that he and Mr. Murray have looked at both used vehicle as well as municipal purchase. The difference in cost was minimal. Mr. Murray explained that the State of Vermont has a contract with Ford for one ton, regular body, extended cab and four wheel drive at $19,000. He added that he talked to the vendor in New Jersey and at that time they still had trucks available. However, that was a month and a half ago.
Motion was made by Mr. Mundell that the Board of Supervisors authorize a $100,000 loan from the Post Closure account, to be repaid at 5% interest, within a five year period, in order to fund the purchase of a roll-off truck and a utility truck, seconded by Ms. Cherrier, and passed unanimously.
4.) MRF Co. Operations:
Mr. Kowalski publicly thanked the Walker Farm for the beautiful hanging flower baskets that they have donated to the District every year.
5.) Program Coordinator’s Report:
Ms. Sterling reported that the USDA has funded the District with a $120,000 grant for the upcoming year starting October 1, 2008 and running through September 30, 2009. A huge piece of that is to beef up our recycling which means that we will be able to go out and look at expensive programs which can be this whole new waste surcharge; mandatory recycling; or pay per bag.
Ms. Sterling informed the Supervisors that she has been working with the Brattleboro Solid Waste Committee trying to help increase recycling. She explained that the USDA grant does not allow her to work with Brattleboro directly because of population but the Board did vote for Fiscal Year 2009 to allocate $12,500 to do things beyond the grant. She added that the District was able to acquire a very energetic intern this summer that did a lot with the Town of Brattleboro including a 100 house assessment of recycling which they did together. They also created a one page colored flyer of what and what not to recycle.
Another part of the current grant allowed for festival recycling. As a result, Ms. Sterling has instituted “Zero Waste” booths for fairs, exhibits, etc. She has been working with Triple T for the composting, the recycling by WSWMD, and then there is very little waste left. The first successful event was the Strolling of the Heifers. Ms. Sterling was assisted by 40 volunteers from the local Boy and Girl Scout troops. They manned the stations and helped educate the festival-goers. The following day the Cub scouts and the Brownies went in and picked up litter. They will all get recognition in the next District newsletter. Ms. Sterling asked the Supervisors to please let her know by July 4th of the dates of any festivals and fairs in their town at which they would like the “Zero Waste” booths.
Ms. Sterling announced that the District will be collecting books through Got Books at the Dover Transfer Station; Town of Vernon; WSWMD MRF and possibly the Townshend Transfer Station. The company is out of Massachusetts and will provide the metal bins for each location which will accept hard and soft cover books; videos, both DVD and CDs; Microfiche, etc.
Ms. Sterling informed the Supervisors that the District will be having its rural residential hazardous waste collections starting July 26th and ending September 13th. The collections last approximately an hour and a half with no appointments and residents are allowed a 10 gallon limit. Flyers will be going out announcing times and locations.
6.) DSM Report:
Municipal Loan Fund: Mr. Murray informed the Board that the District did apply for the Municipal Loan Fund at the time of the truck purchase and were turned down due to the number of applicants they had. They eliminated applicants due to their degree of neediness and the District did not meet their criteria. They now have a set of guidelines to use as to what towns are eligible to access the loan funds.
7.) Other Business:
Ms. Ameen requested that the District have more Planning Meetings. She commented that they are informative and would like to have additional meetings. Ms. Knechtel announced that there would be another Planning Meeting on August 14th.
Motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m.
Kathleen S. Harrison