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Critics oppose landfill partnership

The issue of employment has been discussed with employees and their unions, Cunningham said, and they have all been in favor of pursuing a private partnership. What exactly would happen to the employees, though, has not been hammered out.

"Here are my thoughts, if I was a company coming in to bid on this, I probably would be looking to have my own employees instead of public employees working at a location," he said. "How the structure of it would work, though, if I said anything, it would be all speculative."

Sheehan said he's also troubled by the lack of public awareness about the RFP and suggested the town do a better job reaching out to its residents to keep them informed. There are several issues to be considered with such a request, including an increase in truck traffic, whether it would affect programs in town and the potential odor.

"The average person doesn't know about it," she said, "I think there needs to be a lot more outreach and more discussion of the expected outcome of what some of the impacts might be."

Sheehan has filed with the town several comments and questions about the RFP, and many of the responses noted that nothing has been decided on and a study was still being done.

"A lot of money is being spent on something they say no decisions are being made on," she said. "A lot of it is talking out both sides of your mouth."

There has been money spent on issuing public notices, as dictated by municipal law, and on Clough Harbour and Associates to draft the RFP and to go over it, Cunningham said. But that's what happens when looking into a private partnership.

"We built a budget of $35,000 to do it, and we're close to the end of the budget," he said. "If we're going to do this, we're going to have to do it right."

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