The Winthrop Town Council met remotely on June 1, where it heard concerns from residents about missing trees and the arrival of new trash bins.
The Town’s new waste disposal plan is off to a rocky start. Some residents reported receiving new trash barrels from the Town without any prior warning. Interim Town Manager Terence Delehanty stated that the plan had been for bins to be dropped off at a central location and then delivered to residents following an educational campaign.
“We apologize to the people who were looking out their doors and seeing a barrel,” he said.
The new trash bins have blue covers, to distinguish from the recycling bins, which have yellow covers. Each barrel is marked with a serial number linking it to a specific address. Every household should have both a trash bin and a recycling bin.
The Town is maintaining a database of which addresses have received new bins, and will work on delivering bins to those who still need them. It will also remove any unwanted bins from households.
Overflow trash should be stored in personal bins until the Town Council can come up with an official solution.
Some residents expressed frustration around the new trash fee, which will cost $160 per household annually.
“The goal is to reduce waste, not increase the fee,” said Town Manager Delehanty.
He added that 40 percent of Winthrop’s solid waste is food, which could potentially be composted.
Residents complained that six trees had been removed from the Center Business District during construction. DPW Director Steve Calla explained that these removals were part of the original landscape plan agreed upon by council, and that all the trees would be replaced. Additionally, more will be planted.
“We hear [residents’] sentiments,” said Director Calla. “We are sensitive to the trees.”
Water Loss and Rate Study
Interim Town Manager Terence Delehanty presented an update on the Town’s water loss and rate study, which we originally reported on back in April. The full presentation can be viewed on the Town Manager’s website.
Noticeably absent from the council meeting was the DPW Director Meredith Hurley’s usual COVID updates. However, Town Manager Delehanty reported that roughly 50 percent of Winthrop residents had been vaccinated at last check. Currently, Massachusetts has the third highest percentage of vaccinated residents in the U.S., at 55 percent.
The Finance Commission met several times since May 18. It hoped to be able to submit its budget recommendations to the council by June 8, which will give councilors a week to review them before voting at their June 15 meeting.
The Miller Field Committee had not met since May 18, but work is progressing on the tennis courts and sidewalks. A bid for proposals went out the final week of May for the dog park and golf shed. Estimates are around $125K more than the town had budgeted for the project. Officials are weighing whether or not to put a new bid out or try to come up with the additional funds.
Future of Council Meetings
Council has the opportunity to return to in-person meetings, either in the Harvey Room at Town Hall, or a larger venue such as the Senior Center. Councilors reiterated their desire to continue offering remote participation options once in-person meetings resume. Since remote meetings first started, the council has seen an increase in attendance and participation from the public.
Ingleside Park demolition was slated to begin June 2.
The Parks and Recreation Department is hosting three summer concerts beginning on July 8. All summer programming is available on its website. The Town is waiting to see if it will obtain funding for its Summer Jobs Program.
The Winthrop Ferry is currently seeking qualified captains.
Town Hall will be open to the public starting on June 15. The hours will be Monday to Wednesday, from 8am to 4:30pm, and Tuesday and Thursday from 8am to 7pm.
There are immediate openings for several town committees. Interested individuals should contact the Town Council Office for information.