West Tisbury select board expressed concern Wednesday evening over litter along Edgartown–West Tisbury Road.
“The root of the problem is the dump in Edgartown,” town administrator Jennifer Rand said. Rand suggested working with Edgartown, the West Tisbury Police, and the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District to find solutions. Rand suggested a public information campaign and “very increased enforcement” of uncovered loads may be appropriate remedies.
“I don’t think most of the trash is people throwing it out of their windows,” Rand said. “I think most of the trash is flying out of people’s trucks going to the dump, or going to another jobsite or whatever.”
Guy Tufo, who lives on South Pond Road, which is off Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, said roadside trash is “a never-ending problem” that his housing association has had to budget for so maintenance crews can keep the entrance tidy.
“We’re out there once a week picking up things,” Tufo said.
Tufo said he didn’t believe asking the state for help will bear fruit, because he’s heard state highway officials are already understaffed and underwater with their workload. Tufo recommended the town pitch in to clean up the roadside. Highway superintendent Richard Olsen advised against the town doing work which is normally the purview of the state because the state may come to expect town labor routinely. “There’s only so much we can do, and I don’t want to make a precedent with them because they’ll only — they’ll add it on to us,” Olsen said.
Select board member Skipper Manter said he was “uncomfortable” expending local tax revenue on a state roadway: “However, we pay state taxes like the other 351 cities and towns do across the state, and it shouldn’t be an issue here because they don’t have anybody to do the work. We don’t get any discount on our taxes for lack of personnel here.”
Manter said he saw no reason the state couldn’t send help to the Vineyard from time to time to address the road litter.
Select board member Jessica Miller suggested the state collect trash along the road when they mow the shoulders.
Miller, who lives off Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, said there was an “inordinate amount of garbage” on the roadside, and agreed dump runs were largely to blame.
Select board member Cynthia Mitchell suggested folks at the transfer station could do enforcement by disallowing vehicles with uncovered loads from offloading their trash.
The board took the matter under advisement.