Ask the First Selectman: Addressing social media and litter
What is the town’s social media policy?
The Town posts information on Facebook, but does not answer questions through Facebook. Other than a few exceptions, all Town correspondence is public. This means correspondence must be on a platform which is accessible and retrievable by the Town should it be requested by a member of the public. Facebook is neither. Posts can be deleted. Facebook, and Facebook sites like Wilton 411 and Wilton 412 restrict access to account holders or members.
Why did the Town adopt a Carry In/Carry Out policy pilot program for certain locations?
The State of Connecticut adopted an unfunded mandate requiring that wherever the Town has a regular trash can, there must be a recyclables-only can. Prior to this mandate our five-person Parks & Grounds Department spent 22% of their time on garbage. That equates to one full-time employee per week doing nothing but trash. As recycling and trash cannot be commingled, labor hours would have been required to be increased to allow Town staff to ensure recyclables were not contaminated (meaning all bottles would need to be emptied and any regular trash removed). Contaminated recyclables can lead to a fine when they are delivered from the Town’s transfer station to the recycling center.
In order to avoid the additional labor hours and the potential fines, we have adopted the same Carry In/Carry Out policy as the state parks for Wilton fields and trails. The exceptions to the policy are facilities that have a concession stand (Veterans Stadium and Middlebrook Fields 1 & 2), Lilly Field, Merwin Meadows, and Schenck’s Island.
Other than isolated issues with people using the portables at Allen’s as trash receptacles, we have seen a great response from our residents and visitors.
Some residents have expressed concerns about an increase in trash being left behind at our fields and trails as a result of this policy. The Parks & Grounds crews are seeing the opposite. The volume of trash on the fields and on the surrounding area is down. We suspect the difference in perception is due to greater awareness.