The town’s change in trash pickup vendors, which takes effect on Wednesday, has generated a lot of questions and public discussion, most recently at last week’s Board of Selectmen meeting when Foxborough resident AJ Dooley of Dooley Disposal Services had one question for the town.
“If a resident does not opt out of the trash with the town [but chooses a private vendor] and Russell Disposal picks up a Foxborough resident’s trash, are they then contractually obligated to pay Russell?” Dooley asked.
Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos said while he did not know if a resident was liable for both payments if he or she did not inform the town of his or her decision to opt out of the town vendor’s service, he suggested residents simply need to do what they’ve been asked to avoid confusion.
“Common sense would say that if someone doesn’t want the town contract vendor to pick them up anymore just do exactly what they’ve been told to do in a number of publications that we’ve put out,” Paicos said. … “Call the vendor directly. I understand he has sent out a letter to all 3,800 people who appear on the town list and he said to them ‘if you don’t want us to pick you up, call us and tell us.’ Nothing could be simpler.”
But Dooley’s concern centers around the residents, primarily his customers, who do not make that phone call opting out of the town’s vendor and instead choose to go with another disposal service.
“There’s going to be problems,” Dooley said. “I want to cut them down so there’s going to be less headaches for me, less headaches for [Russell Disposal] and less headaches for the town. … There are going to be people who don’t make that call and I just want to protect my customers.”
Paicos told Dooley the only way Russell Disposal knows who to pick up and who not to is if residents call to either keep their town service or opt out.
“If a resident doesn’t tell somebody, either the new town contractor – Russell – or the town that they no longer want that service and they’ve opted for another competitor then neither the vendor nor the town has any way to know that they’ve chosen a new vendor, in which case that homeowner is going to get two bills,” Paicos said.
The town manager went on to warn residents they need to follow the town’s instructions by July 31 to avoid double billing, especially since the town will not be getting involved after the change in vendor takes effect on Aug. 1.
“I’d call Russell and I would say ‘yes I want to be on your list’ or 'no I don’t,'" Paicos said. "But I wouldn’t play games with this because playing games with it and not revealing whom you want to pick up your trash is only going to lead to problems for you the homeowner. It is not a problem for the town.”
It won’t be a problem for the town because as of Aug. 1, the town will no longer “be in the trash business,” according to Paicos and contractors will have to work out the issues, including double billing.
“We are taking ourselves out of that business and transferring the responsibility for collection directly to the vendor because frankly, why should the taxpayers of Foxborough pay for people who don’t pay their bills on time?” Paicos said.
The town had been essentially operating as the collection agent for previous trash vendors, collecting money from homeowners and paying it to the vendor. Paicos said the town “had to maintain a list of who was legally being picked up and who wasn’t in order to bill them correctly and make sure that payment got transferred to the vendor.”
As of Aug. 1, Russell Disposal has the list of residents who have chosen to have their trash picked up by its services. Russell Disposal will also be responsible for billing residents – something Paicos says the vendor should have been doing all along.
“That’s the way it should have been all along frankly,” Paicos said. “I don’t know why the town ever became [involved with collection]. It’s a poor situation and we can’t find too many communities that do that.”
Paicos added that the town will not get involved in disputes between vendors.
“We cannot get in the middle of a competitive relationship so we told [residents] to do what we’ve told them, which is call the vendor,” Paicos said.
Residents can call the town until July 31 at (508) 543-1224. After July 31, residents must call Russell Disposal at (888) 870-8882.
For more information on the town’s change in vendors and other frequently asked questions about trash pickup as of Aug. 1, click here.
Paicos admitted the process has been “a little confusing” but he is confident the change is in the best interest of the town’s residents.
“The winners in this is the public because what we set out to do is create a competitive environment so that the consumers would be the winners in this and I don’t think we ever expected it to be so competitive but that’s a good thing because what the homeowner is getting is a better deal,” Paicos said.
Dooley agreed … to an extent.
“I think you did bring a competitive environment, as far as the price, and I do think the town is going to get a great price,” Dooley said. “But I’ve grown up in this town my whole life and growing up here, the great thing about Foxborough was that it was a small town and we had this small town attitude and I think that you guys made a mistake hiring from the other side of the bridge.”
Mark Sullivan, the Board of Selectmen’s vice chair, stopped Dooley from continuing.
“Stop,” Sullivan said. “Way out of line.”
Dooley apologized and the latest discussion regarding the town's change in trash pickup concluded.
So Foxborough, we want to know …
Today’s questions: Do you think the town made the right decision by changing trash vendors? Will you be using Russell Disposal on Aug. 1 or have you opted out for another service? Vote in our poll below and tell us what you think about the town's change in trash vendors in the comments section below!