The Rutland County Solid Waste District was initially composed of twenty-three municipalities from Rutland County. Although invited to join the District, the communities of Brandon, Pawlet, and Rutland Town did not vote to join the other towns in Rutland County in March, 1980. In November, 1989, nine member towns decided to leave the District. In November/December, 1989, and January 1990, the communities of Benson, Fair Haven, West Haven, Tinmouth, Middletown Springs, Mount Holly, Shrewsbury, Chittenden, and Sudbury voted to leave the District. In 1991, Pittsford and Clarendon also voted to leave the District, but have subsequently voted to rejoin it. Brandon also voted to join the District in March 1992.
In June of 1990, the Rutland Regional Planning Commission was notified that the Fair Haven Board of Selectmen had formed a Solid Waste Alternatives Committee. By July 12, 1990, the eleven towns that had voted to withdraw from the District formed a loose-knit coalition to work with the RRPC to resolve their solid waste management issues.
On April 2, 1992, the SWAC towns voted to form a Joint Municipal Survey Committee (JMSC) to investigate what type of entity could be created to implement the Solid Waste Implementation Plan as required by the State.
22 V.S.A., Chapter 121, Subchapter 2 provides the legal basis for the creation of a JMSC. A JMSC can be used to investigate the formation of a Union Municipal District, or other formal structure, such as an inter-local contract arrangement. To be members, towns are required to appoint three representatives to the JMSC. The law also prescribes the powers of a JMSC, and the method to be used to transition to a Union Municipal District or inter-local contract.
As of August 1992, the towns of Chittenden, Fair Haven, Middletown Springs, Mount Holly, Pawlet, Shrewsbury and Tinmouth appointed the required members to the JMSC. The JMSC has adopted a set of by-laws as required by statute. Towns without official membership on the JMSC were invited to join the Committee. The Committee’s Solid Waste Implementation Plan was developed through extensive public and private sector participation from municipal officials, solid waste facility operators, and haulers, local businesses, interested citizens and waste management professionals.
In November 2001, Mount Holly voted to withdraw from JMSC/SWAC and address solid waste issues as a single municipality. Subsequently, they joined the Rutland County Solid Waste District.
SOLID WASTE ALLIANCE COMMUNITIES:
Upon the recommendation of the multi-town joint municipal survey committee, the municipalities of Benson, Chittenden, Fair Haven, Middletown Springs, Pawlet, Rutland Town, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Tinmouth, and West Haven propose to enter into an interlocal agreement for the management of municipal solid waste per 24 VSA, Chapter 121. The purpose of the interlocal agreement is to provide for the efficient implementation of the new Solid Waste Plan. The State of Vermont adopted its Solid Waste Implementation Plan in November 2001. Municipalities have until May 2003 to submit revised plans for review and approval.
The ten towns will be known as the Solid Waste Alternatives Communities (SWAC). SWAC will be composed of representatives of the municipalities appointed by the selectboards. SWAC will also provide for solid waste planning, administration and implementation. SWAC desires to work cooperatively while retaining municipal powers.
The powers and duties of SWAC, per an interlocal agreement, include the authority to adopt solid waste plans. SWAC will set its per capita fee for the following year by November 30 of each year. Each participating municipality will act on the annual appropriation as part of its budgetary process. SWAC will also have the authority to enter into contracts for the provision of solid waste management programs and services, assist towns in matters concerning solid waste, promote cooperative arrangements and coordinated action among participating municipalities, acquire real or personal property or hire employees.
SWAC will contract for a solid waste administrator to perform designated functions. These functions may include applying for grants, contracting for and overseeing special waste events, coordinating waste reduction and public awareness programs, monitoring the progress of recycling programs and providing overall staff support to SWAC.
SWAC towns will meet quarterly to oversee the solid waste administrator and any other contractual employees to ensure that the solid waste management needs of each town are being met.
The highest priority in the ten-town solid waste management plan is to reduce toxicity and quantity of waste generated. The Plan proposes SWAC will address waste reduction, public awareness and education on a yearly basis. The goal will be to increase awareness of and participation in source reduction and reuse programs as well as recycling and composting. This will include providing information on special waste events, coordinating industry specific workshops, and disseminating information to households, schools and businesses on proper waste management practices.
The waste reduction programs will strive to complement and enhance state and private sector programs already in existence and provide region specific programs only where they are most beneficial. It is expected that the private sector will continue to contribute significantly to the public awareness component as they are required under their certifications and in the operation of their businesses (for example: businesses notifying customers of the type and quality of recyclables their facility will accept.) The established policy of the ten-town solid waste communities is that solid waste will only be disposed of in certified or otherwise permitted facilities which are either lined landfills, waste to energy plants or other environmentally sound solid waste facilities.
The Joint Municipal Survey Committee/ Solid Waste Alternative Committee (JMSC/SWAC) consists of ten towns and has a year-round population base of 13,847, and adjusted seasonal population of 15,787. The Towns of Benson, Chittenden, Fair Haven, Middletown Springs, Rutland Town, Shrewsbury and Tinmouth are Transfer Station based. Sudbury collects electronic wastes from its residents. The town of West Haven has an agreement with Fair Haven for solid waste services. The Town of Pawlet has an agreement with the town of Granville, New York for solid waste services.
The Transfer Stations are open at least two days per week and operated by paid staff. The paid staff is also supported and supplemented by local volunteers. The towns have contracts with various private companies for hauling municipal solid waste, recyclables, and food waste.