AYER -- On Tuesday, selectmen voted for the recommendation from the curbside solid-waste-collection work group to table the implementation of curbside collection.

"Don't get me wrong people, I appreciate your passion to a great extent, but I'm here to check numbers and save money for the taxpayers," said Selectmen Gary Luca at the beginning of the meeting.

Mark Wetzel, Department of Public Works superintendent, presented activities done by the work group since January.

These included conducting two public-input meetings, developing proposed program options, meeting with haulers to discuss the project, evaluating proposals and price bids, developing solid-waste budgets for various alternatives and researching program costs.

The work group received technical assistance from the Mass Department of Environmental Protection in the evaluation of the cost and benefits, implementation process and alternatives to curbside collection and found that the program costs are higher than the current Transfer Station costs.

About 38 percent of residents use the transfer station and others opt to receive curbside pick-up from private companies.

The transfer station is operated by the DPW and accepts residents' municipal solid-waste, zero-sort recycling, yard and bulk items, and has a "swap shed" where residents can swap items.

"They're so passionate about going up there and talking to people they only see once a week or talking to people that are running for office," said Luca.


"It's a social event and they don't mind paying for it."

Wetzel said if Ayer were to adopt the curbside program, costs could increase for some residents and decrease for others.

According to the presentation, the current cost per user of the transfer station is $395 and expected to increase to $451 in fiscal 2016.

The transfer station with curbside alternative would be $491 per user.

"For right now, it looks like this is not a good fit," said Selectmen Jannice Livingston.

To determine costs for implementing a curbside-collection program, the work group sent out 21 price requests to different companies in the area. They received responses from three companies -- Waste Management, GW Shaw and Son and Republic Services.

The price proposals ranged from $277,920, for 2,000 households to $399,080.

Price increases, Wetzel said, was one concern addressed at the public-input meetings on March 20 and July 31. Other residents were worried about the litter the curbside pick-up might bring and the ability to get carts outside in snowy weather.

Some advantages to the curbside pick up were that the town would have more control over town-wide solid waste and possibly increase recycling.

Livingston said there are people who use curbside pick-up and do not recycle, so adding this service for the entire town would not mean people would recycle.

After the motion, Luca commended the work group for their efforts and thanked the crowd for their passion on the subject.

Chairman Christopher Hillman said he appreciated people's passion, but said the problem became a little personal for him.

He said he received a threatening phone call Tuesday stating that if he did not back off the curbside pick-up program, the unknown caller would do harm to his house and his car.

Hillman said he was mulling whether to file a police report.

"I know the people of Ayer aren't like that. It was a very disturbing call, but I want to make sure people know there is no sinister plan here," he said.

"There was no underlying agenda here. It's purely for saving the taxpayers money," said Luca.

Livingston made a motion to table the curbside pick-up program based on the two public-input meetings, 603 signatures on a petition against the pickup and the recommendation of the work group but can be looked at in the future if there is a significant change in all requirements.

Follow Kelly Carrion on Twitter and Tout @KellyCarrion12.