The Mashpee selectmen voted unanimously on Monday, May 4, to authorize the town manager to find New Bedford Waste Services, the company the town contracts for waste disposal, in default of its contract.
The severing of ties with the waste hauler comes after months of back- and-forth between the board and the company’s president, Michael Camara, after he requested a rate increase in November.
“You could see this one from a mile away,” Selectmen Chairman Andrew R. Gottlieb said after the board’s vote.
The town was in the fifth year of a 10-year contract with New Bedford Waste Services.
In multiple meetings with the selectmen Mr. Camara cited diminishing landfill capacity in the state of Massachusetts and told the board that the waste collected from the town would be shipped on flatbed trucks to landfills out of state, increasing his costs.
Mr. Camara said that due to his company’s financial situation, he would not be able to continue hauling the town’s trash without a rate hike of more than 50 percent—to $93.75 per ton of trash—and that even with the hike, he would not be turning a profit.
The selectmen agreed to the rate hike in January with the stipulation that the company provide Town Manager Rodney C. Collins documentation of its costs of disposing the trash.
In March the selectmen and town manager questioned the validity of the documentation since it came from a sister company, Zero Waste Solutions, LLC, also owned by Mr. Camara.
Mr. Collins refused to pay the rate increase until adequate documentation had been provided. New Bedford Waste Services continued to haul the town’s trash until Mr. Collins received notification in an email last week that it could no longer cover the difference.
“New Bedford Waste Services is in a very difficult financial situation at this time and does not have the funds to cover the Town of Mashpee’s payment,” Mr. Camara wrote in an email to Mr. Collins on April 30.
“We were willing to pay the rate that the board agreed to and authorized me to sign off for, if he had just provided the backup information, which they have declined to do,” Mr. Collins told the board during Monday’s virtual meeting.
Upon learning late last week that New Bedford Waste Services would not be hauling the town’s trash, Mr. Collins entered into a temporary agreement with Gotta Do Contracting, LLC, at the $93.75 rate, effective until July 1.
“This is just a bridge between now and July 1,” Mr. Collins told the board.
A new waste hauling contract will be brought before the board of selectmen prior to July 1, Mr. Collins said.