By RUSSELL JONES
The town of Brandon will have a new transfer station operator beginning in September.
After months of negotiating with the current operators of the town’s garbage and recycling transfer station — Earth, Waste and Metal, or EWM — the two sides could not agree on contract terms and now the town intends to have Wyman Timber run the station starting in September.
Selectman Tim Guiles has been negotiating with the previous company’s executives, Stephanie and Kevin Elnicki, over what responsibilities the town has regarding the infrastructure at the transfer station. Guiles said the company was feeling pinched by the growing cost of recycling and the board has come to understand that the town will need to subsidize some of the cost.
“While the negotiations were very productive in illuminating many important aspects of managing the town of Brandon’s waste streams,” Guiles wrote in an email to The Reporter, “in the end, EW&M decided that the last offer from Brandon was insufficient to make running the transfer station profitable.”
Guiles said because recycling markets are turbulent right now and the costs are rising, the town realized some of those costs would need to be absorbed by the town, rather than the operators.
“This is a worldwide issue of waste management,” Guiles said. “If the costs for recycling are passed on to the user and the price is the same or more than trash, people may stop recycling.”
He added that keeping recyclables out of the landfill is important, and more should be done to make sure that everything that can be recycled is.
“As a state, and I would say as a nation, we need to promote recycling for more than economic reasons,” he continued. “We need to further incentivize recycling to the user.”
To that effect, the town has been negotiating with Wyman under the same terms that they were offering EW&M at the last round of negotiations. Though those terms are still being worked out, Guiles laid out the gist of it.
“There will be snowplowing done in the winter so those guys can get in there and start working,” he said. “There will also be some infrastructure work done on the shed and to make sure everything is up to safety standards.”
The biggest change, according to Guiles, is that the town will look at a fluctuating rental agreement to match the price of recycling. That would allow the town to charge less for rent when hidden costs drive up the cost of recycling and raise it when costs go down.
These are the same terms that were offered to EW&M, and although the company could not come to an arrangement with the town they will operate the station through the end of the month before Wyman takes over on Sept. 1.
“The town of Brandon thanks the Elnickis for their years of service in running our transfer station,” Guiles added. “We appreciate the challenges associated with a constantly evolving recycling marketplace and wish them success in their future endeavors.”
Tracy Wyman, who is a selectman for the town, has recused himself from all discussions regarding the transfer station, but said company he and his son run is ready to take over and will not need to purchase any additional equipment to do the job. “We put a bid in the last time the contract was up and we didn’t get it,” Wyman told The Reporter. “Now that the Elnickis have pulled out, there is a need that we feel we can fill.”