continued “Keeping roads plowed is a necessity,” he said. “But garbage pickup is a luxury we might be able to do without.”
The remark prompted applause from many in the packed town hall.
Resident Jean Coulard suggested cutting two full-time positions in the highway department to offset the expense of trash pickup, adding that a new trash collection truck would be a “good investment.”
Wood responded that the move of cutting the positions would curtail the ability of the highway crew to keep roads plowed, endangering the loss of the town’s contract with Warren County to plow county highways, an agreement that earns Thurman $160,000 annually.
Wood said that free garbage pickup services were being abused in town. The tonnage that the town was hauling away was 24 times the national average, she said, and some residents were depositing heaps of trash by the town trucks on town property at night regardless of the free pickup.
She speculated that some people were driving their garbage to Thurman to dispose of it. Several local residents agreed, adding that some residents were putting tons of material out to be picked up.
Resident Pierre Cyr said that free trash pickup was a service that created “unintended consequences” including lack of effort in separating recyclables.
“Residents have to take responsibility for their own trash,” he said.
Vasak agreed, noting that recyclables were now a saleable commodity, although the town was paying dearly to have the materials hauled away — either sorted out for recycling, or improperly mixed in with household trash.
While some people raised questions about the burden on elderly and housebound in transporting their trash to the landfill, Cyr suggested that townspeople act as good neighbors and help out those in need.
• In other business, Wood said that loss of state aid of $1,000 to the summer youth program put it in jeopardy. She and Vasak suggested that the program be cut, and the several dozen children attending join Warrensburg’s summer program.