SCOOTER MACMILLAN

Staff Writer

The Hinesburg Selectboard has chosen the town’s next police chief to replace retiring Frank Koss, but that person won’t be named until the board has negotiated a contract.

“We’ve gone through a long process, a very good process led by a committee. Then the selectboard got involved, and we’re ready to make an offer,” said Selectboard Chair Phil Pouech.

The meeting on Wednesday, May 15, began with a closed executive session where the two announced topics were the new police chief and the town’s contract with Black Rock Construction for a well. No news about the Black Rock deliberations were made public.

The motion to approve entering contract negotiations to hire a new police chief was unanimous with selectboard member Jeff French, who is out of town, voting by phone.

Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) Executive Director Sarah Reeves presented the district’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020.

The selectboard was happy to hear that the CSWD’s proposed budget includes funding for a new drop-off center in Hinesburg.

The CSWD is the largest solid waste district in the state. They anticipate revenues of more than $12.6 million and expenses of over $11.4 million next year. After capital expenses are deducted, they expect to net around $331,000, Reeves said.

This past year, the CSWD has worked on three major infrastructure issues: the compost facility, the materials recovery facility and drop centers.

Reeves said that they started with working on the compost facility because the deadline is approaching. Act 148, also known as the Universal Recycling Law, dictates that by 2020, all Vermonters will be required to keep organic waste out of their trash.

This year they expect that to handle 6,000 tons of food scraps with a facility that was designed for 2,500 tons a year. She said studies predict that the district could receive more than 10,000 tons of food scraps next year.

The CSWD was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Agency of Natural Resources toward construction of a new composting facility and the district is weighing options. They will also be reducing the products that they produce at the compost facility from 12 to three. The three products they will continue to make are compost, topsoil and a garden mix. As of July 1, these will only be sold in bulk to wholesalers.

The materials recovery facility was the next issue the CSWD worked on. This is the facility where items, such as those that come in the blue bins, are sorted for resale to recycling companies.

The recycling markets were down last year, Reeves said. She reminded the selectboard that they had talked about the falling prices at their meeting last year, and it has not gotten better.

“The markets have not rebounded,” said Reeves. “Some of the markets have gotten worse, particularly cardboard. So, we’re now at the lowest average commodity revenue that we’ve ever been at.”

As a result, the CSWD is raising the fee at the materials recovery facility from $55 a ton to $65. Reeves said that the fees for Chittenden County are still a bargain, since disposal fees at the landfill run from $125 to $150 a ton.

“It still makes sense in Chittenden County to divert this material from landfilling,” she said.

The CSWD will also have to build a bigger materials recovery facility and have been looking at several sites where that might be located. She said they will probably be seeking bond issues from Chittenden County municipalities because the CSWD doesn’t have the money to build a new facility.

Pouech asked how the bond process works. Reeves said that the CSWD would be responsible for making the payments “and just like a school district bond, each of the member communities would have to vote for that and have to agree that, in the event that we could not pay that bond, you would proportionately pay that debt.”

At the end of Reeves’ presentation, the selectboard voted 4-0 to approve the CSWD budget, as French was no longer on the phone and unavailable for the vote.

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