Waste District talks funding for next year

Oct 16, 2019

MARION — The Carver Marion Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District Committee thought that increasing sticker fees might be a way to increase revenues as it looks to start operating without the backing of its primary funding source, Covanta SEMASS, in 2021. But it turns out that its charter doesn’t allow it to set sticker fees.

At a Sept. 18 meeting, members discussed asking legal counsel for how to proceed, since they realized that the committee operates quite differently than specified under the 1973 charter, which allows the three towns to negotiate with the waste to energy facility.

Their lawyer responded that the district cannot set stickers fees.

Instead, what the District can do is let the towns know that it will assess them for a certain amount of money, and then suggest that the town set sticker fees at a certain amount to be able to raise the amount that they assessed without dipping into town funds.

Whether Carver, Marion and Wareham choose to use stickers to cover that cost or come up with the funds through other means is up to the towns.

Covanta payments will cover the waste district through the end of the 2020 calendar year, but leave it without a clear funding source for the rest of its fiscal year, which will run through June 2021.

The district’s finances were left in turmoil after the group’s Executive Director Ray Pickles was fired for allegedly embezzling money from the waste district in January 2017.

At an Oct. 11 meeting, a new subcommittee for the group discussed how they would like to see the District’s finances managed as it looks to transition funding sources, continue operation of at least one of the two transfer stations that it runs, and upgrade equipment and facilities.

The subcommittee did not have the power to make any decisions, but will take its recommendations to the full committee at an Oct. 23 meeting.

Marion is also considering leaving the Waste District, and will take the first of two Town Meeting votes on the matter at its Oct. 21 Town Meeting. Both the full district committee and subcommittee will meet in the week after that meeting to determine how to proceed based on Marion’s vote.