Sunrise Scavenger began automated pickup in the Highlands and central Braintree Monday and Tuesday. Under the program, residents must pay the $160 trash fee ($105 for seniors) to receive two 64 gallon barrels, one each for trash and recycling. Sunrise's trucks are equipped with mechanical arms to lift and deposit the waste.
However, several residents noticed during the first two days of service that Sunrise was still picking up non-automated barrels. District 6 Councilor Paul "Dan" Clifford said he spoke with Mayor Joseph Sullivan Tuesday afternoon and learned that there is a two-week grace period while fee and distribution issues are worked out.
Sunrise will not pick up trash and recycling from Braintree households who have not paid the trash fee after the first two weeks, Clifford said during Tuesday night's Town Council meeting.
Prior to the town's recent efforts to get residents to pay their delinquent trash fees ahead of the automated program, more than 1,000 households had not paid, Clifford said. That number was whittled down to 300 to 400 households, many of whom owe for multiple years.
Town officials will work to lower that number further over the next week-and-a-half, using the leverage of liens and the complete cut-off of waste service. If all non-payers paid this year's fee and back fees, the town could recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That money should go toward lowering the trash fee for the residents whose money has for years subsidized non-payers, who have have still managed to dispose of their trash, Clifford said.
The town has in some cases already distributed smaller 35-gallon barrels at no charge for residents who cannot handle the larger barrels, and also given out extra 64-gallon receptacles ($100 for trash, $50 for recycling), councilors said.
The contract with Sunrise replaces a deal with Capitol Waste that expired June 30. If Braintree had stayed with Capitol at the same rate, it would have spent $8 million over five years, according to data provided by the mayor’s office. With Sunrise, Braintree will spend $6.6 million over the same time period.
Those savings – approximately $1.4 million over five years – will be reduced by the cost of the barrels, but then also increased over time with reduced tipping fees.There have been some hiccups during the first two days of service.
Council President Charles Kokoros said the last month has been "very stressful" as his constituents prepared for the change. Kokoros said he personally did not have any problems with his barrels Tuesday, but he saw barrels overflowing and poorly placed in his district.
More education will be required, he said, for the program to go smoothly.
Reports of barrels being placed by the distributor in the wrong area have come to Councilor Sean Powers' attention, such as those left in the middle of a yard and in a driveway.
Sunrise and the town should provide leeway to residents, especially when it comes to handing out orange notices for inappropriate placement, Powers said.
"I would ask for patience as well on behalf of the residents as they learn this new system," he said.
Residents with pick up issues can call 781-794-8088, or contact Sunrise directly at 617-361-8000.
FAQ on Braintree automated waste program.