BETHEL — “Can you just tell us who you are proposing?” Bethel Select Board Chair Meryl Kelly asked.

Member Scott Cole at the Aug. 21 MSAD 44 School board meeting in the Telstar Middle/High School library. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

“Scott Cole,” said Hanover’s Select Board Chair Brenda Gross.

Officials from Bethel, Hanover and Newry were at Bethel town office to discuss how to fairly split the costs of the tri-town agreement for solid waste. Each town will have two representatives at the table.

“The fact that he is a resident of Bethel and that Michele [Cole] represents the town, I don’t want there to be a look of impropriety. If that’s what you want to do to represent your town, that’s not really my business. It just seems a little weird,” said Kelley.

Gross and Bethel Select Board Vice Chair Michele Cole (Scott’s wife) argued that the representatives for the tri-town interlocal waste committee did not need to be from the town they represented and town managers on prior boards were often not from the town where they worked.

“He [Scott Cole] can’t get beyond what Newry pays, he’s always hung up on Newry … I’m not a fan of Hanover having Scott [as their representative],” said Newry Town Administrator Loretta Powers.


When the conversation started to go in a different direction, Michele Cole said,  “I want to go back to ‘Scott Cole doesn’t qualify’ … I was hoping this meeting would keep opinions aside.”

Hanover’s Absence

Powers said she was at the September Interlocal Waste Committee meeting with three of the representatives: former Bethel TM Natalie Andrews, Bethel Select Board Member Frank Del Duca and Newry Select Board Member Tink Conkwright. Powers expressed her frustration with Hanover’s absenteeism at all the meetings.

“I sent e-mails … we batted the same things around and around and around … Hanover was always invited … I’m glad Hanover finally said something. Because we’ve done this for years with nothing from you guys,” said Powers.

At the September meeting, the four in attendance, agreed that going forward,  a unanimous vote would no longer be necessary. “Two out of three towns win,” Andrews had said. They also changed operating and maintenance to be equally shared at  33.3%  for each town. Previously Bethel paid 58%, Newry paid 35%, and Hanover paid 7%.

After sending Hanover the proposed changes their select board wrote to the Bethel select board objecting to the changes and asking to meet.


At this meeting, Kelly apologized to Hanover’s board, saying she didn’t know Hanover was not at the September meeting and had not agreed to the changes.


There are two monthly bills that come from Casella Waste Systems each month to be divided and paid by the three towns.

For the month of October the first bill from was just over $41,000, said Bethel Town Manager Sharon Jackson. This amount includes all the trash and recycling collected by the three towns at the transfer station on Mayville Road.

The  second monthly invoice from Casella is for tipping fees for the trash collected by all commercial businesses in the three towns. For October, the total tipping fee cost was $21,000. This amount does not include a rental fee for the dumpster. While they pay no tipping fees, businesses pay the approximate $100 per month rental fee.

Bethel board member Sarah Southam said she created a spreadsheet based on valuation and population that would more fairly distribute the costs across the three towns.


They all agreed that getting information from contractor Casella has been, and will likely continue to be, very difficult. Powers said other competing contractors don’t have drivers or roll-offs available.

Jackson said she will do a two-year look-back at the invoices from Casella with a break down of each town.

“We need a list from Casella with all their pick up locations. They have that information … everything starts with the data,” said Jackson. She hopes to have the information from Casella by January. Committee meetings will start shortly thereafter.

“The most important thing is the three parties are here, [they] haven’t been together for a long time,” said Del Duca.

While Hanover Select Board member Jim Barker offered to represent Hanover in one of their open seats, it was left unresolved by the meeting’s close, if Scott Cole would be taking the other seat.

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