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Swampscott board denies trash pickup request from condo owners

SWAMPSCOTT – Selectman Marc Paster’s motion to have the town collect trash at several condominium complexes in town failed this week, despite several previous discussions on the matter.”There was no second, so the motion was dead in the water because I was the only one in favor of it,” he said.The issue of the town providing trash collection services to condominiums was discussed at the request of C.P.A.R. Properties President/Owner Patricia Ryan, who has been in business in town since 1972.Ryan said the condominium owners are not pleased.”Needless to say, we were extremely disappointed with the vote,” she said. “There were many condo owners present at the meeting. The three properties that I manage are Summit Estates, The Glen and Crown Pointe, which represent 515 taxpayers and $1,662,589 in tax dollars.”Ryan said condominium owners pay for their own trash collection, snow removal and streetlights, but pay the same tax rate as other homeowners who receive town services.Ryan said the condominium owners were upset by the way the Selectmen quickly dismissed them without being afforded an opportunity to speak.”When it was our turn, Chairman Adam Forman stated they had a lengthy agenda and they had already heard from condo unit owners at a previous meeting,” Ryan said.She pointed out Forman and Selectman Jill Sullivan were not even present the last time the condominium owners went before Selectmen.”I addressed the Selectmen briefly along with Attorney Richard Brooks of Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks,” she said. “Many unit owners called me the next day and stated they were disappointed with the rude behavior of some of the board members. They felt the topic was dismissed quickly with little or no empathy for condo taxpayers.”Ryan said Paster was the only selectman who was sympathetic to the plight of the condominium owners.”Some of the board members chose to use two very weak arguments,” she said. “Those being the town’s fiscal condition and the ignorance of the condo buyer.”Forman said the issue has been discussed at two selectmen meetings this fiscal year and he believes the condominium owners had an ample opportunity to make their concerns known.”The board took the issue very seriously,” he said. “We would love to grant their request and provide the extra service to them, but we do not have the fiscal ability to do so. Our financial picture is dire. We are going to be cutting services and laying off town employees. Every dime counts and we can’t afford to add additional services and costs.”On Thursday, Paster said he was still disappointed the motion was not seconded and he doesn’t buy into claims it is cost prohibitive for the town. Paster said he believes town trash pickups at the condominium complexes would be feasible if an extensive mandatory recycling program was a key component of it.”The condos currently do not recycle,” he said. “If we implement mandatory recycling the town would get paid for newspaper and other recyclable materials that are picked up at no cost to the town. It would help the condominium owners and help the environment.”

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