NORTH ADAMS -- The city's transfer station sparked a heated discussion between city officials during Tuesday night's City Council meeting after councilor John Barrett III requested an agenda item about the station's operations.
The discussion came after City Councilor John Barrett III requested an agenda item on the transfer station's operation, and led to a disagreement between he, Mayor Richard J. Alcombright and City Councilor Jennifer Breen.
Barrett took issue with a recent $100,000 study of the transfer station and Alcombright stating the city is looking to invest $1.8 million to $2 million into the facility.
"This city is broke, and it doesn't seem to be registering with anybody ... we're spending money like drunken sailors," Barrett said.
The transfer station has been debated for years as the Department of Environmental Protection has issued violations to the city eight times since 2000 for trash being scattered outside the site.
On Tuesday, Alcombright noted that the DEP was"very serious" that the city must take further action and has threatened to fine the city.
"We want to be proactive," Alcombright said.
Alcombright said a number of changes were made to keep trash from blowing in the wind, and stated several times the issue was one of environmental protection.
Recycling is now contained in a former Maxymillian Construction building on the site and there are new routes for both residents and commercial recycling trucks to drop items off, he said.
"What we've done is a bandaid ... that stuff needs to be in a closed building with closed doors," Alcombright said.
But Barrett stressed further study must be done and a committee of residents should be established, similar to the committee tasked to determine whether the city should opt for a water filtration plant or a well.
Councilor Breen questioned what measures have been taken since 2000, and said she plans to file a Freedom of Information Act to obtain the DEP violations.
Barrett responded by saying Breen was "hell-bent" on blaming him for everything that's gone wrong in the city for the past 13 years.
"I don't think it should be so emotionally-driven when we're talking about a landfill," Breen said. "I'm saying we should have a full picture of whatever is going on in however many years."
In other action, Alcombright and Police Director Michael Cozzaglio honored Officer Gregory Onorato for excellent police work.
Onorato was the first to arrive on the scene during a 20-person brawl outside the Artery Lounge on Union Street on June 15, Alcombright said, which resulted in one person being stabbed and another having a bottle broken over their head.
"Officer Onorato had the presence of mind to stay calm, assess the situation quickly, guard the injured, provide a detailed description of a fleeing vehicle reported to contain suspects, speak to witnesses, all while dealing with a very volatile crowd and situation," Alcombright said.
The City Council also voted 6-1 to approve an order to authorize the Treasurer Beverly A. Cooper to borrow $150,000 for vehicles and equipment of various municipal departments. Barrett opposed the order.
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