Residents will need to pay to replace broken, stolen bins

Residents will need to pay to replace broken, stolen bins

The pile of residents’ old trash bins at the Tucker Field drop-off location was growing Tuesday morning, a day after it was opened. Residents can drop off their bins through July 19. (Breeze photos by Ethan Shorey)
Old bin drop-off in place until July 19

CUMBERLAND – The new trash totes town residents have received are a one-time delivery, says Public Works Director Bob Anderson, and the town will not be in the business of replacing them for free.

There have already been complaints on social media about people having their bins stolen or damaged, the damage sometimes done by an aggressive squirrel, but Anderson said these bins will be treated just like any a resident would buy on their own. Residents are responsible to replace the bins, at a cost of $75 apiece, he said.

“I’d be out of carts before you knew it,” he said of a program where the town simply footed the bill for replacing the new bins.

In researching issues with similar implementation of trash programs in other towns, Anderson said he learned that a popular trick from residents who were looking to get an extra bin was to claim theirs was stolen. Some people also had bins taken by family members and then claim they were stolen, he said.

Though he hasn’t received many direct complaints of stolen bins, Anderson said he expects to get them and is preparing the town’s response now. There needs to be some type of deterrent in place to prevent people from trying to get a second bin or giving their town bin to someone else, he said.

There are cases where people truly haven’t received a bin for whatever reason, and the town is in the process of rectifying those isolated cases, said Anderson.

Residents have a responsibility to keep carts in a secure place and prevent them from being stolen just as they would for any of their other property, the director emphasized.

Though the new bins are highly durable, they’re not indestructible, Anderson said, and residents will also be responsible to replace destroyed containers. There will be common sense employed by the town, he said, citing the example of a bin destroyed in a house fire as one the town would replace.

“We’re not trying to be hard on them,” he said.

But there have already been reports of people “misusing and abusing” their bins through negligent behavior, he said, including a sighting of one person who threw the container across the yard and broke it.

Unless there’s some type of police report filed legitimizing a theft, or a bin is lost or destroyed through the fault of waste service provider MTG Disposal or the town, the town will be charging residents for replacement bins, said Anderson.

The town is accepting residents’ old trash bins at the Tucker Field drop lot across from Cumberland High School through July 19. A large pile was already growing there Tuesday morning, a day after the town opened it to residents.

The rollout of the new 95-gallon wheeled trash totes is improving since it began July 1, said the DPW director. The town is swapping out 95-gallon bins for a limited supply of 65-gallon bins requested by older residents, but workers are verifying to make sure those requests for smaller bins have legitimate reasons behind them.

The first of MTG’s new automated trucks with the side arms is expected to arrive in town at the beginning of August, said Anderson. He told The Valley Breeze it would have been nice to hear from MTG earlier than a couple of days before the July 1 rollout that the manufacturer wouldn’t have the trucks ready. In the meantime, workers have been using some loaned side loader trucks and other trucks with automated arms on the backs of the vehicle, which require the workers to wheel the totes to the back to be lifted.

Anderson said the past few weeks have been quite something when it comes to fielding questions and complaints about the new trash program. He said the wildest complaint came from a woman who claimed she was seeing maggots in her trash for the first time and blamed it on the arrival of the new bins. He said he told her that maggots are caused through a specific scientific process, and hard plastic containers are not to blame in that process.

The instructions for those dropping off their old bins at Tucker.