SHIRLEY -- The Nashoba Area Boards of Health, the town's contracted health agent, had mistakenly over-billed for its services. The good news is the error was discovered, recognized and rectified.
During a brief discussion Monday night, Board of Health members explained how it happened.
The gist of it was that NAHB had calculated Shirley's assessment based on federal census figures that include the state prison population, but those numbers should not have been included.
"We discussed it, they agreed" payback was due, Joseph Howlett said.
Now, with the concurrence of the selectmen and Town Meeting approval this year, the refund will allow the town to become a member of the Devens Regional Household Hazardous Products Collection Center.
Shared by the Board of Health, Water and Sewer Departments, whose budgets include NABH services - the three entities agreed to pool the unexpected windfall to pay the town's buy-in cost, splitting the bill into equal shares, one third each.
With the new facility on track and seeking members, the Recycling Committee previously asked the Selectmen to consider membership, but the board said no, stating the town couldn't afford it at that time.
Besides the initial buy-in, participating communities pay an annual fee based membership numbers. The Board of Health will pick up that fee, Chairman Donald Farrar said, tapping into cost savings from the reduced NABH assessment to pay the yearly bill.
"I'm so excited about this, health board member Jackie Esielionis said. She credited Farrar for targeting the opportunity and brokering a deal with the other two departments. "This would never have happened" otherwise, she said.
Farrar, for his part, wanted to talk about benefits that membership in the facility will bring to the town. A flyer he's been circulating provides all the details, including which hazardous household substances and materials can be taken to the facility for disposal, those that cannot, how to transport the articles safely and other useful information.
It will be posted on the town web site, www.shirley-ma.gov.
For example. Mothballs, craft supplies, glues, photo chemicals, floor, furniture and nail polishes and removers, disinfectants, various household cleaners, upholstery and rug cleaners, spot removers, silver and metal polishes, oven cleaner, antifreeze, gasoline, car wax and motor oil, weed killer, chemical fertilizers, flea collars, shampoos, insect and rodent killers, pool chemicals, lead-based paint and removers.
There's a "do not bring" list, too, including needles and syringes, alkaline batteries, aerosol cans, bio-waste, prescription medicines and smoke detectors, asbestos, propane or butane gas, tires, ammunition, fireworks or explosives, and bulky, non-hazardous items.
Disposal fees, preferably paid in cash are as follows: For residents the fees are $20 for up to five-gallons or five pounds of material and $40 for up to 10 gallons or 10 pounds. Proof of residency is required.
Businesses must pre-register and are charged on a scale based on products and volume.
The telephone number listed for Devens HHW is 978-501-3943.
Member towns are Ayer, Bolton, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Littleton, Lunenburg, Townsend and Shirley.
Established with grant funding from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the facility is located at 9 Cook Street, Devens.
The facility is open on the first Wednesday and following Saturday of the month, March through December, weather permitting. Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Shirley residents and business may use the Devens HHW facility beginning July 1.