WSWMD BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2020
REGULAR MEETING – 7:00PM
CONFERENCE ROOM, WSWMD OFFICES, BRATTLEBORO
MEMBERS PRESENT: Michelle Cherrier, Chair, Dummerston; Patrick Moreland, Brattleboro; David Jones, Brookline; Michael Becker, Guilford; Lewis Sumner, Halifax; Greg Meulemans, Jamaica; Jessica Pollack, Jamaica; Stillman Vonderhorst, Marlboro; Doris Knechtel, Newfane; Dan Toomey, Putney; James Damato, Readsboro [via teleconference]; Irvin Stowell, Townshend; Sandra Rulewich, Vernon; Nancy Meinhard, Wardsboro; Russ Hodgkins, Westminster [via teleconference]; and Merrill Mundell, Wilmington.
MEMBERS ABSENT: Peter Elwell, Brattleboro; Daniel Balliotti, Dover; Kevin Stine, Dover; Cheryl Franklin, Guilford; Cara Cheyette, Halifax; Mike Fitzpatrick, Newfane; Kent Young, Stratton.
WSWMD STAFF PRESENT: Bob Spencer, Executive Director; Athena Lee Bradley, Programs Manager [via teleconference]; Wendy M. Levy, District Clerk.
OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE: Rob Conboy, Glavel Foam Glass Gravel.
Chair Michelle Cherrier called the meeting to order at 7:04pm and welcomed Sandra Rulewich, Vernon’s new BOS representative, and Rob Conboy of Glavel. Greg Meulemans introduced Jessica Pollack, Jamaica’s new alternate representative.
Michelle reminded the representatives to have their town officials notify WSWMD about this year’s appointments. Bob pointed out that the charter does not prescribe how such notification is to be provided, so an email from the Selectboard, or the appointee is fine, and a copy of the minutes of the meeting is even better.
- CHANGES AND/OR ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA
There were none.
- APPROVAL OF MINUTES — JANUARY 9, 2020
Michelle asked the Board to approve the minutes from the January 9, 2020 meeting. There were no amendments and no discussion.
MOTION BY MERRILL MUNDELL TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 9, 2020. LEWIS SUMNER SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED 13-2, WITH TWO ABSTENTIONS.
III. APPROVAL OF CHECK REGISTERS — JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2020
Irvin Stowell asked about the revenue for tires and where it appeared on the financial statement. Bob Spencer said it is included with the recycled materials revenue line, and WSWMD has detailed accounting for all tires.
MOTION BY NANCY MEINHARD TO APPROVE THE CHECK REGISTERS FOR JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2020. MERRILL MUNDELL SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
- APPROVAL OF FINANCIAL STATEMENT — FEBRUARY 2020
Merrill recounted some of the discussion from the Finance Committee meeting, which took place just before the BOS meeting.
Bob noted Greenbacker will send a check soon for RECs (renewable energy credits) for Q3, in the amount of $44,000. The Q4 will come later, and should bring revenues above the $50,000 budgeted amount.
Bob reported a recent new revenue stream: purchase of annual access stickers and day passes by customers who had not yet purchased the required stickers (effective July 1, 2019). The scale-house staff implemented a mandatory check-in for all users, including those going to the recycling bins with no trash and therefore not going across the scale.. The result: within one ten-day period, from sale of the passes, staff brought in approximately $1,800. Bob thanked staff member Skip Bonnett.
Bob mentioned other recent revenues: a refund of approximately $600-$700 over payment of workers’ compensation insurance, and a $1,000 grant from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) to cover the cost of two new exterior security cameeras. He expressed confidence in ending the fiscal year without a deficit, and said the District is in good financial shape.
MOTION BY LEWIS SUMNER TO APPROVE THE FEBRUARY 2020 FINANCIAL STATEMENT. STILLMAN VONDERHORST SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
- GLAVEL FOAM GLASS GRAVEL — ROB CONBOY, CEO: INTEREST IN LEASE OF WSWMD MRF
Rob Conboy gave a presentation on Glavel Foam Glass Gravel. Highlights included:
The mention of the Seven Days article about the company, which Bob had previously distributed.
The history of making gravel from glass.
The uses of this material, and its cost relative to other materials used for the same purposes.
The manufacturing process and its use of renewable energy.
Its relevance to recent sustainability developments in the building trades.
The history of his company, its recent activity, and its plans and goals, including establishing plants in New England.
His desire to lease WSWMD’s MRF for use as a foam glass gravel plant.
A discussion ensued on these topics and others. Additional highlights included:
The history of Rob’s contacts with Bob.
Signing a long-term lease with a private entity; recent challenges with other long-term leases were referenced.
The possibility of WSWMD sharing office space with Glavel.
The environmental effects of the Glavel process, including cleaning the glass used in the manufacturing process, and dust in the facility.
The possible traffic increases from a Glavel plant at WSWMD’s campus.
Agreements between Glavel and WSWMD for making capital improvements, including a performance bond to remove the company’s equipment if Glavel shold go out of business.
Glavel sourcing recycled glass and glass powder locally.
Local tax credits for Glavel to locate operations here.
The effect it would have on WSWMD’s cardboard baling process, which is a revenue stream for the District.
Whether WSWMD could crush glass on-site.
The BOS agreed to create a committee to review the Glavel proposal, and present their findings to the April BOS meeting. Stillman, Jim, Patrick Moreland, Michael Becker, and Michelle 1ST OR LAST NAMES?????
They asked Rob to provide a detailed proposal in the next week or so for the new committee to review prior to the April BOS meeting. Bob offered to be the primary contact for Rob.
MOTION BY JIM DAMATO THAT THE BOS VOTE AN EXPRESSION OF INTEREST IN THE GLAVEL FOAM GLASS PROJECT AND MOVE FORWARD WITH REVIEW OF A PROPOSAL. DORIS KNECHTEL SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Bob reviewed some conversations he had with other industry leaders about Glavel and its strengths and weaknesses. He assured the BOS that he will do due diligence. Jessica Pollack offered to help with the due diligence on a volunteer basis and noted that she does similar work as an attorney.
- CONSIDER HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE INFRASTRUCTURE GRANT
Bob gave an update on the proposed permanent hazardous household waste (HHW) collection depot project and its associated grant. WSWMD received less than requested, so staff redid the plan to account for the reduction in funding, as noted on the summary documents.
Bob discussed costs, funding, Athena Lee Bradley’s research on other HHW facilities in New England, and the comparison in costs—where known—between stand-alone HHW collection events and a permanent facility. Athena’s research shows the permanent facility will be more cost-effective.
A discussion ensued. Highlights included:
HHW operator certification.
Permanent facility costs are unknown because it depends on amounts collected and participation.
Expense and challenge of getting vendors to commit to stand-alone collection events.
Possible response from hill towns when faced with a lack of roving collections.
Adjustments to the collection plan to add convenience for residents of hill towns.
Increased education to promote the permanent collection facility.
MOTION BY MICHAEL BECKER TO AGREE TO ACCEPT THE HHW INFRASTRUCTURE GRANT. DORIS KNECHTEL SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED, WITH 13-2, WITH 1 NAY AND 1 ABSTENTION.
Doris thanked Athena for her report.
VII. CONSIDER PARTICIPATION IN CSWD WAGE STUDY
Patrick spoke about the wage study’s purpose, history, and procedure. He noted WSWMD’s share of the joint study is $2,500, which he said was a very reasonable fee, and he reported the Finance Committee recommends the District move forward on this. Michelle agreed the District should ensure its wages and benefits are appropriate. Greg agreed the cost is worthwhile, and the District should not just ensure their wages are competitive with other companies, but within the organization itself. Dan Toomey noted there are some pending retirements among District staff, so it’s beneficial to have accurate wage and benefit data for when the District seeks to replace the retired workers.
MOTION BY MERRILL MUNDELL TO ACCEPT THE OFFER TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CSWD WAGE STUDY AT A COST OF $2,500. MICHELLE CHERRIER SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
VIII. UPDATE ON RICH EARTH INSTITUTE PURCHASE OF BOE LEASE FROM SKY SOLAR
Bob reported the closing on the purchase of the lease should happen in about two weeks, likely before the April BOS meeting. Then, Rich Earth Institute (REI) will submit an amended lease to WSWMD for negotiations
Nancy asked if Sky Solar was treating REI fairly in this process. Bob replied, “Yes,” and noted this is a good development for WSWMD, as it means the District can likely raise the rent on the space, which is currently less than market rates.
- SCHEDULE SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING REGARDING LOAN OF ROLL-OFF CONTAINERS TO MEMBER TOWNS
This meeting will be at the WSWMD offices on April 9 at 5pm, before the Finance Committee meeting. Michelle invited everyone to attend.
- PROGRAM MANAGER REPORT
Athena gave her report. Highlights included:
The HHW grant.
Composting projects with various entities.
A grant from the Windham Foundation to increase waste diversion in multi-use buildings in Brattlebor.
Projects in Townshend, Halifax, and Brattleboro.
She started the SWIP re-draft, which is due to the Agency of Natural Resources on July 1. She reviewed the approval process.
The zero-waste events are starting up again.
A review of the Harris Hill Ski Jump’s waste collections; a report will come soon.
Business outreach, including with Brattleboro Memorial Hospital on their food scrap collection.
Possible future repair cafe events.
- EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT
Bob gave his report. Highlights included:
Met with the Townshend Selectboard on food scrap collections, and the benefits of membership in the District.
Assisted Vernon with an RFP for their curbside waste collection program, and working on a contract with the town. Attended Town Meeting where voters chose to continue the program.
The sale of two conveyors from the MRF. Bob noted this year so far, he has sold about $30,000-worth of MRF equipment.
The possible overage in the District’s compost permit with the state.
His difficulties in reaching Long Falls Paperboard.
The aforementioned dump sticker spot-checks.
The difference in current costs in tonnage for recycling versus trash, and that the BOS should address fees in the spring.
The landfill gas generator, and a recent conversation Bob had with Allard Lumber on using WSWMD’s landfill gas to cogenerate their kilns. The result: WSWMD doesn’t generate enough gas.
Early compost sales started this week.
A report from the VLCT representative on the WSWMD office’s concrete curbs—they present a tripping hazard—and the District’s response: they are currently under repair.
WSWMD’s workers’ compensation rates are lower now because of no significant accidents. This was mostly achieved by closing the MRF.
David Jones reported that Brookline Town Meeting approved keeping the 24-7 recycling containers by just one vote.
XII. COMMITTEE REPORTS
Merrill reported the Finance Committee discussed the FY22 Capital Budget.
XIII. EXECUTIVE SESSION
There was none.
XIV. OTHER BUSINESS AS LEGALLY ALLOWED
Michelle noted Green Up Day in Vermont is coming soon. In the past, WSWMD accepted collected waste free of charge, but it was abused, so the BOS stopped this years ago. Bob noted Townshend asked if WSWMD could start accepting Green Up Day refuse for free again. David Jones, who is Brookline’s Green Up Day Coordinator, opposed WSWMD accepting this waste at no charge. The BOS agreed with him.
MOTION BY DORIS KNECHTEL TO ADJOURN AT 8:56PM. NANCY MEINHARD SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Submitted by Wendy M. Levy, District Clerk.
This represents my understanding of the above dated meeting. If you have any changes, please submit
them at the next BOS meeting.