Look Ahead, Pittsfield: Trash talk, election shifts and a final budget vote

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New caps on curbside trash are up for discussion this week, and the future of the city's solid waste management to boot.

The city's Resource Recovery Committee reconvenes at 6 p.m. Thursday in City Hall to discuss these pressing topics.

Committee members will talk about trash pickup regulations recommended last month by the City Council Committee on Ordinances and Rules, and how the city would work with its hauler, Republic Services, to enforce them. The new regs would cap trash pickup at 64 gallons a week for each household, and 50 pounds per container.

The plan still requires approval from the full council before becoming law.

Committee members will also discuss a possible new contract with the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility, which informed communities earlier this year that new contracts must be signed for a 10-year period and will likely include fee increases. The contract deadline is in December.

And at the behest of Councilor Kevin Morandi, the committee is scheduled to devise a backup plan in the event Covanta Energy Corp. is no longer around to process the city's trash. News broke last month of the company's plan to sell the Pittsfield facility to a New Jersey-based company, with the buyer promising status quo on Hubbard Avenue.

City councilors will take a last look at $166.6 million in operational spending for the upcoming fiscal year during their Tuesday meeting, as well as $10.7 million in borrowing for capital improvement projects. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers.

The $166.6 million appropriation reflects a portion of the overall operating budget — it's the portion the City Council has purview over — while the city plans to spend a total of $175.5 million over fiscal year 2020.

Councilors will also consider tax agreements for a new solar project, developed by Churchill Solar LLC, on Churchill Street.

Election update

On the election front, Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers indicated suddenly over the weekend that she no longer seeks reelection. Hopefully we'll see movement in the Ward 5 race soon, as so far she's the only one to have pulled nomination papers in the ward.

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Any interested nominees have until July 19 to gather signatures and submit them to City Hall for verification.

Incumbent Councilor Chris Connell has new competition in the race for Ward 4. He's joined by Drew Herzig, chairman of the city's Human Rights Commission, and Michael Merriam, who sits on the city's Traffic Commission. The Ward 7 field has also grown. It's now a three-way race between John Daniels Jr., Jeffrey Ferrin and Anthony Maffuccio.

Melissa Mazzeo's mayoral bid cleared the way for new blood in the council's at-large race, and last week there was a fresh bite from Auron Stark. He joins incumbent councilors Peter Marchetti, Earl Persip and Pete White, as well as Craig Gaetani, Jay Hamling and Alex Blumin. There are four at-large seats up for grabs.

Mosquito spray and herbicide

The Board of Health will hear a new proposal this week that could bring about preventive mosquito control spray in certain flood-prone areas of the city. The conversation was originally scheduled for last week but the board's meeting was postponed.

Chris Horton, superintendent of the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project, told the board in April that when flooding occurs in certain areas it predictably brings about concerning mosquito breeding that is more difficult to address retroactively. He promised to return with a data-driven proposal around weather-based spray procedures for board members to consider, which they're scheduled to do 6 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall room 203.

Pontoosuc Lake will be treated with aquatic herbicides on Thursday. The lake will be closed for all uses and will reopen on Friday.

Festivities

The two-day Firefighter Combat Challenge kicks off Friday at Berkshire Crossing. Firefighters from around the region will compete in full gear to perform lifesaving simulations.

The city's annual LGBTQ Pride Festival runs from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at The Common, featuring vendors, drag performers, music, education and health care outreach.

And Sunday is Father's Day, so don't forget to appreciate all the dads out there.

What's up in Pittsfield? Tell me via email at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, or by phone at 413-496-6296. Follow me on Twitter @amandadrane.


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