Published: 04/13/2022 16:01:44
Modified: 04/13/2022 16:00:35
COLRAIN – The ‘Spruce It Up Colrain’ community clean-up event may go down a par with the Selectboard signaling support for curbside litter pick-up but skipping over the idea of sponsoring bulky waste collection and tires.
The council has delayed approving any city-sponsored bulky waste and tire disposal removals due to ongoing ethics concerns. In the past, event organizer Jonathan Lagreze has told Selectboard he has solicited pledges from individuals and companies – no money has changed hands. One of the businesses, however, was Flower Xpress, a marijuana grower that recently signed a host community agreement with the city and has yet to go through the Planning Board and Planning Commission approval process. zoning call.
The Flower Xpress pledge solicitation has the Selectboard on edge because of Lagreze’s status as a representative of the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, which designates him as a municipal employee. As a municipal employee, soliciting donations could have violated ethics laws. The State’s Conflict of Interest Act specifies that even if no ethics violation occurs, an “appearance of conflict” must also be avoided. Lagreze has since resigned from his post.
“The damage happened,” said Selectboard member Michael Slowinski. “Mr. Lagreze solicited funds from an entity doing business with the city, in secret without our support, while he was a city employee. The lawyer I spoke to…suggested that we do nothing until Flower Xpress and all such agreements are concluded, signed and sealed.
“I want to emphasize that I don’t think there was any intent to do things the wrong way,” Slowinski continued. “It’s a noble cause, we just have to follow the rules and regulations.”
Selection committee chairman Joe Kurland said the council was in favor of supporting litter pick-up and waiving fees to bring bags of litter to the transfer station. Then, once negotiations and permitting processes are complete with Flower Xpress, he said the council would be more than happy to sponsor a tire and bulky waste collection event.
“When it’s all over, please come back to us,” Kurland told Lagreze. “We hope to do this in the future, thanks for your plan. Sounds good to me.”
“The tires will still be there in six months,” added Selectboard member Thom Griffin.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Lagreze said he was happy to see that he will be able to continue “Spruce It Up Colrain”.
“We’re basically moving on with ‘Spruce It Up Colrain’,” he said. “I’m very happy that the city is picking up roadside trash.”
Originally, “Spruce It Up Colrain” was a community event organized by Lagreze and other volunteers that would have provided free trash disposal, free bulky waste collection, and tire disposal for Colrain residents. .
“Although the tires were where the idea for Earth Day came from, I’m really happy with how it’s evolved,” Lagreze said.
From now on, the event will maintain the free disposal of waste for residents on Saturday April 23, on the occasion of Earth Day. Lagreze and the other organizers are encouraging people to volunteer to clean up a road in town by signing up at bit.ly/3KEv03S.
“The goal is really to sign up on the app to clean the roads,” Lagreze said.
He said organizers will host a pizza night on Friday, April 22 at the Catamount Country Store from 5-6 p.m. and will also distribute bags for trash pickup.
On Sunday, April 24, Lagreze encourages people to start their day with the annual Colrain Firefighters Association Pancake Breakfast at Colrain Central School, which will be held from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Breakfast tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children under 12. .
From there, people are encouraged to collect rubbish from roadsides throughout the city and bring it to the transfer station for free.
Chris Larabee can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4081.