Letter to the Editor: Trash talk

May 15, 2019

Dear Marion Voters,

On Friday, you will be asked to vote on two options for trash pickup. The first (question 3) asks us to outsource pickup to Waste Management at an additional tax assessment of $470,000. At the same time, there would be no personnel savings because current town employees would be retained and reassigned to other duties, keeping the existing other post employee benefits (OPEB liability) such as health care and pension. Yet we don’t know what these employees will be doing!

The second option (question 4) is to buy a new, automated truck and rollout containers for $582,090 which is an additional assessment. In a recent unattributed Sippican Week statement, it was asserted that that a truck can be expected to last for five to ten years, and that this automated truck requires more maintenance than the typical vehicle. Also, an existing Town employee would be assigned the pickup duties.

A third option, not on the ballot, is privatization (every household on its own). This is being rejected for expense — show us the estimates — and for safety reasons. Got any data?

Over the next five years the Town’s expenditure with Waste Management, assuming no cost increases (Ha, Ha! Look at our recent history on many issues), would be $2.35 million. To buy and
maintain a truck for five years, assuming annual maintenance of $30,000 on a brand new truck, would be $582,090 plus $150,000 in maintenance, a total of $732,090.

The five-year outsourcing option would cost $1.62 million (221 %) more than the purchase-and-maintain option, yet the Selectmen are recommending outsourcing. Even if maintenance is more expensive, the difference is likely significant.

I am sure that the Selectmen have performed a cost-benefit analysis that proves my simplistic assumptions wrong. Please, in the interest of transparency, let them publish a cost/benefit analysis before Friday’s vote.

Paul Frangos
16 River View Lane