WESTERLY — The Town Council will conduct a public hearing and could later vote on proposed increases to fees for use of the municipal transfer station during a meeting scheduled for Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Public participation in the meeting will be available by visiting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81065404490 or by calling 929-205-6099 or 877-853-5257. The meeting identification number is 810 6540 4490.

Increases to fees paid by both residents and commercial haulers are being considered as officials look for ways to balance the transfer station's budget and keep up with increasing fees charged to municipalities at the state's central landfill in Johnston.

The cost of the 15-gallon orange bags that residents use are proposed to increase to $7 per roll from the current $5 per roll and the cost of 33-gallon bags is proposed to increase to $10 per roll from the current $8 per roll. Additionally, a new $10 minimum fee per load up to 140 pounds to a maximum of $125 per ton for bulky items that are not currently designated for charges is proposed for town residents. A minimum fee of $20 for up to 140 pounds of the same type of bulky items, up to a maximum of $125 per ton, is proposed for authorized non-resident users of the transfer station.

Also proposed is an increase in the fee charged to commercial haulers for loads generated in Westerly to $120 per ton from the current $115 per ton; and an increase to $125 per ton from the current $120 per ton for loads with any items that come from outside of the town.

The council is also scheduled to discuss proposed zone changes related to the former Bradford School building and property, which is currently used for recreation programs and storage; and expanding the area in which tattoo parlors would be permitted either outright or by special use permit.

A memorandum from Zoning Official Martin Loiselle outlines potential zone changes to make the Bradford School building "appealing to a potential buyer." The Town Council has not yet conducted public discussions of selling the building but has recently discussed potential sales during closed-door executive sessions. The options discussed in the memorandum would allow for development of the school property for multi-family projects, assisted living facilities and a comprehensive permit project under a new zone that could yield up to an estimated 61 units.

Under a new recommendation by the Department of Development Services, tattoo parlors would be permitted in the same zones as beauty parlors. The recommendation follows a complaint lodged by a resident who owns a tattoo shop in Pawcatuck. The resident, Josiah Dodge, informed the Town Council that two beauty parlors in the town offer "permanent makeup services" that require tattoo licenses from the state. Todd Ramono, town attorney for zoning, has informed the council that the town must either take enforcement action against the beauty parlors or enact a zone change.

The council is also expected to discuss hiring a consultant to assist with ensuring compliance with laws and regulations for how federal American Rescue Plan Act funds are used. The town is scheduled to receive a total of $6.6 million from the federal COVID-19 relief program over two years. The council has so far approved about $1.66 million in municipal projects and requests from nonprofit organizations.


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Sheer incompetence by everyone involved.

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