Michael Camara’s company, New Bedford Waste Services, which hauls away Mashpee’s trash, is having a tough go of it. The bottom has fallen out of the value of recyclables and the cost of disposing of trash at landfills is increasing. So he went before the selectmen Monday hoping they would allow him to charge the town more for his company’s services.
It is not an unreasonable request on the face of it; the price of disposing of waste is indeed going up and the return on the sale of recyclables is diminishing.
But Mr. Camara’s pitch to the selectmen was a bit off-putting. He referred to a dilemma “we” face and said if his company were to go out of business, “you don’t have many options.” Whether he meant to or not, Mr. Camara sounded like he was playing hardball with Mashpee.
Mr. Camara is in the fifth year of a 10-year contract with Mashpee. A 10-year contract isn’t something anyone should sign lightly. A lot can happen in 10 years. It appears New Bedford Waste Services did not plan well and perhaps Mashpee town officials were hasty in entering it.
Whether they did or not is beside the point. Waste Services now has a problem.
It is not necessarily the Town of Mashpee’s problem. If Mr. Camara’s company goes out of business, Mashpee will have to find another way to dispose of its trash. And it will. It will cost more than the town is currently paying; it might cost a lot more. And that is Mashpee’s problem, not Mr. Camara’s. There is no “we” here, and selectmen and the town manager do not need Mr. Camara to tell them that they don’t have many options. Town Manager Rodney Collins is surely acutely aware of the disposal situation. Every town on the Cape,—save Bourne, which has its own landfill—is facing the same situation.
In the meantime, Selectman Gottlieb struck to the core of the issue. People need to generate less trash. Making that happen will not be easy but we will all be better off if it can be accomplished.