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Recycling center is no longer free.

Byline: James F. Russell

HARDWICK - Selectmen last night unanimously approved a $20 annual fee for residents who use the town's recycling center, after Hardwick's Recycling Coordinator Linda Paquet recommended the amount.

The new fee takes effect immediately, officials said. Before the vote, residents were not charged a fee.

Ms. Paquet said the fee is needed to raise revenue to pay for operations. Ms. Paquet, who plans to resign in the coming weeks, said 400 to 500 residents use the service and are given a sticker. People living out of town pay a fee of $75 per year, and about 75 non-residents use the recycling center, according to Ms. Paquet.

The recycling center is on Route 32, site of the former Scoops Garage, in the Wheelwright section of town.

Annual town meeting voters last month approved a fiscal 2008 operating budget of $19,000 for the recycling center, but Ms. Paquet said last night that $34,000 is needed to fund the center through June 30, the end of fiscal 2008.

Selectmen said town meeting approval is required to increase the center's operating budget and discussed a special town meeting in September.

According to Ms. Paquet, more money is needed because a pay-as-you-throw trash and recyclables collection that were slated to begin this month were canceled because not enough families signed up for it. The program would have resulted in downsizing the town's recycling center, she said.

During discussion, Eric Vollheim, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said that since Ms. Paquet is going to resign, it would make sense for the new recycling coordinator to be part of any operational changes.

In other business, selectmen announced they have suspended Council on Aging bus driver John Miarecki for one month because of "complaints about his behavior," Mr. Vollheim said.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 25, 2007
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