BETHLEHEM – Selectmen, meeting Tuesday, February 4, made several appointments to commissions and committees, set the date for an Annual Special and Town Meeting and agreed to send a non-binding letter of interest to the Material Innovations and Recycling Authority.
The Annual Special and Town Meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 20, in Memorial Hall. The agenda for that meeting includes to receive and act upon the annual report, to set the date for the Annual Budget Meeting, to authorize the Board of Selectmen to borrow money as necessary to meet current expenses and to increase the appropriation for account 5463 Building Official, an amount noted as $39,008.
Selectmen are expected to set the date of the Annual Budget Meeting as Thursday, May 28.
First Selectman Leonard Assard explained that MIRA, which was formerly known as CRRA, is addressing an issue that occurred last fall with its South Meadows transfer station.
After a major failure, MIRA will need to develop a plan to address the problems. An information presentation on the MIRA website states, “The Waste to Energy Facility is suffering poor availability and capacity utilization due to deferred maintenance and insufficient capital renewal and replacement. Facility operation is not sustainable.”
The presentation further notes that a plan will be made to “Renovate and operate Trash to Energy and recycling facility and in the future, if viable, finance, build and operate additional diversion/recycling infrastructure.”
MIRA asked for a non-binding letter of intent to continue utilizing MIRA in the next 30 years, at a projected cost of $145 ton/ton. Last year’s cost was $83 per ton and next year’s bill will be $91 per ton, beginning July 1, 2020, Mr. Assard said.
The 30-year agreement will include a “non-opt-out” clause, but right now MIRA is only asking for a non-binding letter of intent, so Bethlehem can still choose not to participate if it can find an alternative place to send trash and recyclables.
After discussion and with assurance that the letter of intent was non-binding, the selectmen voted to approve sending the letter.
Selectmen discussed an upcoming event to honor veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars. That event, sponsored by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and the state Department of Veterans Affairs, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 30, at Memorial Hall.
Letters will be going out to veterans known to the town within the week. If anyone is a veteran of these conflicts and does not receive a letter, he or she is asked to contact the selectmen’s office at 203-266-7510.
The following individuals were appointed or reappointed to the Christmas Town Festival Committee for a three-year term ending in February 2023: Sunni Blore, Diane Polansky, Amy Vroom, Bill Joyce, George Murdock, JoAnn Dzielinski and Dan Polansky.
Anthony Barbino was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Historic District Commission with a term to expire November 2024.