WINDHAM SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT (WSWMD)
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING
MINUTES OF AUGUST 8, 2019
COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Michelle Cherrier, Chair, Dummerston; Patrick Moreland, Brattleboro; Lewis Sumner, Halifax; Dan Toomey, Putney; Stillman Vonderhorst, Marlboro; Doris Knechtel, Newfane; James Damato, Readsboro; Irvin Stowell, Townshend; Russ Hodgkins, Westminster; and Merrill Mundell, Wilmington
COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Peter Elwell, Brattleboro; David Jones, Brookline; Daniel Baliotti, Dover; Kevin Stine, Dover; Sheila Morse, Guilford; Cheryl Franklin, Guilford; Cara Cheyette, Halifax; Greg Meulemans, Jamaica; Mike Fitzpatrick, Newfane; Robert Matte, Readsboro; Kent Young, Stratton; Christopher Parker, Vernon; Emily Vergobbe, Vernon; and Nancy Meinhard, Wardsboro
WSWMD STAFF PRESENT: Bob Spencer, Executive Director; Vicki Hayes, Office Manager/Bookkeeper; Athena Lee Bradley, Programs Manager; and Minnie Boadu-Bennett, District Clerk
OTHERS PRESENT: Michael Becker, Guilford
Ms. Cherrier called meeting to order at 7:08 PM
1. Changes and/or Additions to Agenda: Ms. Cherrier requested the board consider approval of financial reports first and asked for time for those present to complete updated contact information. She then introduced the two incoming members, Doris Knechtel of Newfane and Michael Becker of Guilford.
2. Approval of FY 2019 Financial Report— June 2019: Mr. Mundell described the finance committee’s review of the report and their vote to recommend for board approval. Ms. Cherrier requested line numbers be re-added to future financial reports. Mr. Moreland called the last 12 months a “good piece of management.” Ms. Cherrier invited the supervisors to be involved in the budget process. The finance committee has planned a budget planning meeting for September 26, 2019 at 6:30pm, in addition to its regular 2nd Thursday meeting for the month (September 12, 2019 at 6:00pm).
Mr. Moreland moved to accept the year-end financials. Mr. Damato seconded, and the motion passed unanimously (10 votes).
3. WSWMD Staff Request Updated Supervisor Information: Supervisors were distributed contact information update forms prepared by Ms. Morissette. Forms will be sent to members absent tonight.
4. Approval of Minutes— May 9, 2019:
Mr. Damato moved to approve the minutes of May 9, 2019. Mr. Hodgkins seconded, and the minutes were approved as presented. (9 votes) Ms. Knechtel abstains. Ms. Cherrier noted positively the addition Mr. Stine had previously requested of attributions for motions and general vote counts.
5. Approval of Check Register— May 2019:
Mr. Damato moved to approve the check register for May 2019 and Mr. Sumner seconded. After Mr. Moreland briefly reviewed the finance committee’s discussion, Mr. Mundell moved to approve all three check registers presented. Mr. Hodgkins seconded this motion and the motion passed (10 votes).
6. Approval of Check Register— June 2019: Approved in motion of item 5.
7. Approval of Check Register— July 2019: Approved in motion of item 5.
8. Update on Sale of Solar Array from Sky Solar Holdings to Greenbacker Renewable Energy: Mr. Spencer informed the board of the intended sale of all SSH solar array assets to Greenbacker Renewable Energy. He followed up with research on GRE, including reference checks for three Vermont solar acquisitions, including the Hartford landfill array and received consistent positive feedback for the company as service-minded and prompt. As of this meeting date, the sale is nearing closure, pending some repairs to solar assets. Mr. Spencer also noted that GRE specializes in REC markets, rather than using broker as SSH had done, which may prove beneficial in the future sale of RECS.
9. Sky Solar Offer to Sell Brattleboro Organic Energy Assets to District: SSH has a separate lease for Brattleboro Organic Energy Assets acquired during the solar array development process. Mr. Damato asked for further analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of this purchase offer. Mr. Moreland suggested exploring potential uses before appraising the assets and making an offer. Mr. Damato asked Mr. Spencer to get quotes for commercial appraisal. Mr. Spencer said he believes it will ultimately be in the District’s best interest to own the property and mentioned the potential to use the plot for battery storage for the solar array. Ms. Cherrier noted this item will be revisited at the September 12th meeting.
10. Consider Estoppel Certificate Regarding Solar Array Lease: Mr. Spencer explained the need for an Estoppel Certificate for the SSH lease which Ms. Cherier then signed.
11. Promissory Note to Purchase Trommel Screen – $75,000: Mr. Spencer updated the board on the May 9th decision to borrow against the post-closure fund. He confirmed that the process was authorized by Vermont ANR. Per the promissory note Ms. Cherrier signed, the District will repay the borrowed amount back into the post-closure fund over the next 3 years.
12. Landfill Post Closure Re-Certification: We have applied to renew the Landfill Post Closure permit as required every 5 years and are awaiting notice of official approval.
13. Compost Marketing Update: With the purchase of the new trommel screen, we have been screening with much greater frequency, increasing production volume. WSWMD Brattlegrow Compost now has 8 distributors in 3 states. Additionally, Mr. Spencer described a handshake agreement with the Vermont Mulch Company to purchase 2000 cubic yards at a discounted rate, with the goal of drawing a contract for next spring with reevaluated rates. Mr. Moreland asked about the potential to work with them as a both bagger and wholesale distributor. Mr. Spencer also reported the hemp division of a marijuana grower in Bernardston purchased 20 cubic yards of compost for industrial hemp production and could provide a market through their contracted farms. Mr. Damato asked about the possibility for incoming feedstock as well, and Mr. Spencer said they had discussed this, and it is a potential new source of feedstocks for composting. He said that WSWMD is already composting hemp materials from a local CBD manufacturer.
14. WSWMD’s Event Recycling Services- Athena Lee Bradley, Programs Manager: Ms. Bradley updated the board on the district’s zero waste services and bin lending policies. She is improving the recordkeeping process with a new form for container loans, and new spreadsheets to track event data. She also created a new tip sheet for event organizers that will be distributed with the container loan agreement. Ms. Bradley also highlighted the need for new containers for the program.
15. Programs Manager Report: Ms. Bradley reported on: HHW event preparation and management during May and early June; positive experiences working with Heritage Environmental Services; event turnout (Townshend, 43 people and 3 small quantity generators; Vernon, 76); updating our collection policy to no longer accept paint, mercury, or other products covered under extended producer stewardship laws in VT through HHW events, with further information about restrictions on ammunition, fireworks, and flares forthcoming. The total cost for spring HHW collection was $22,121: $14,663 for Vernon; and $7,400 for Townshend. The fall events will be in Brattleboro and Stratton. There is a new push from ANR for districts to develop permanent HHW sites, with potential grant opportunities like the organics infrastructure grant received last year. These could serve towns better due to improved access and reduced costs from vendors. Next, Ms. Bradley reported on potential community composting workshops with the Retreat Farm; providing technical assistance to a compost farm site in Dummerston using human urine enhanced compost; backyard compost bin sales, ongoing discussions with Forrest Hammond about reducing bear-related risks; meeting with Vermont law students; an upcoming backyard composting workshop on August 14th in Newfane, as well as ones at the River Garden in Brattleboro and in Wilmington. Mr. Mundell asked if these workshops could create competition in the compost market and Ms. Bradley explained the focus is to provide access to food scrap composting to residents who may not be able to bring their organics to the district, as well as educating on safe practice and animal risk-reduction. For zero waste events, Ms. Bradley reported that Strolling of the Heifers was a success with an estimated 51% diversion. She worked with the Retreat Farm on their summer food program kickoff zero waste collection and provided technical assistance for their weekly food truck roundups. There will be a repurposing recycling event in Wilmington on August 17th 5-7pm. For business, institution and residential updates, Ms. Bradley reported outreach Newfane, Jamaica, Harmonyville, Townshend, and Brattleboro; meetings with the Guilford school and West Brattleboro Pre-K; compost donations to the Guilford School for their garden and a soil and compost presentation for their 4th graders; kicking off Wardsboro school food scraps collection in May, since TAM is taking milk cartons the school is producing almost no trash; West Brattleboro Pre-K, Westminster school 6thgrade science class project, connecting with residents at Morningside condo which is no longer collecting compost. The new district website should go live in 1-2 weeks, with a focus on towns and accessibility. Ms. Bradley submitted the 4th year SWIP report, reporting a district wide diversion rate of 51%, ahead of the State’s goal of 50% by 2030. The Brattleboro transfer station specifically is at 80%. ANR will distributing the 5th year SWIP survey to residents. The new hauler caretaker permit letter is drafted and will go out soon, highlighting variable rate ordinances and the upcoming food scraps landfill ban. Ms. Bradley also submitted two grant applications, one approved for $2000 for pesticide disposal from ANR and a Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education grant with Rich Earth Institute to develop human urine enhanced compost for agricultural operations here at the district. Lastly, Ms. Bradley reported increased social media engagement, with page likes up from 34 to 49 and monthly impressions from 90 to 2,000/month.
16. Executive Director Report: Mr. Spencer reported on: the revised District Services map; the continued profitability of the compost program; the current status of Long Falls Paperboard as a feedstock source; a new summary of facility security infrastructure; the new landfill post closure certification for the next 5 years stating we need less than $100,000 total over the next 9 years with $450,000 in the account; receiving final payment from the town of Winhall; and continued work managing erosion issues on the solar site. Our OCC markets are holding at $49/ton, recycling goes out at $170/ton vs $102/ton for trash, with glass separation saving $100/ton. Mr. Damato asked about past maintenance issues with the scales and Mr. Spencer explained that they had been primarily due to a susceptibility to lightning strikes. The lightning risk has since been resolved and there have been no recent issues with the scales. Mr. Spencer will review scale maintenance practices.
17. Executive Session (if needed): None.
18. Other Business as Legally Allowed: None.
Mr. Damato moved to adjourn. Mr. Stowell seconded, and the meeting adjourned at 8:40pm.
Minnie Boadu-Bennett, District Clerk