ISWM Overview

Like many towns in Massachusetts, Bourne landfilled its waste at various sites around town for as far back as anyone can remember.  The present landfill site off of MacArthur Boulevard began operations in the late 1960s and was operated under the direction of the Department of Public Works (DPW.)  In the early 1980s the Town chose not to join other Cape communities in sending its waste to the SEMASS waste-to-energy facility in Rochester, MA.  Instead, it was decided to continue landfilling in Bourne and to fully develop the present facility as an integrated operation addressing all aspects of solid waste management, not just landfilling.

As the Town prepared to expand its operations to a regional market, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) made it clear that the standards applied to large waste management firms would be applied to the Town’s facility.  To appropriately manage such a facility, as well as upgrade to a lined landfill, it became apparent that the Town needed to have a department exclusively dedicated to managing a modern integrated operation.  Therefore, in 1998 the Town petitioned the state legislature to officially form the Department of Integrated Solid Waste Management Department (ISWM) to assume solid waste management functions previously handled by the DPW.  The bill passed both houses and was signed into law by the Governor in 1999.

ISWM is a separate, fully self-funded department.  Finances are managed in what is called the ISWM Enterprise Fund (Enterprise Fund.)  This is a special municipal accounting mechanism that completely separates ISWM finances from the rest of the Town’s finances that are managed through the Town General Fund (General Fund.)  Therefore, ISWM does not rely on taxes to fund its budget.  Revenues are mainly derived from customers using the facility who pay a tip fee per ton, as well as through the sale of recyclables, grants and interest income.  This arrangement has been carefully reviewed and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR.)

Generally, money from the Enterprise Fund cannot be sent directly to the General Fund.  However, DOR has authorized transfer of funds to the General Fund as reimbursement, (Administrative Overhead), for services rendered by other Town departments such as the weekly curbside collection of trash and recyclables.  In addition, the Governor signed Host Community Fee legislation allowing ISWM to transfer fees to the General Fund for every ton of material it accepts according to a pre-determined formula.  This transfer became effective in January 2001.  Since its creation, ISWM has contributed well over $20 million in avoided costs and direct cash contributions to the General Fund.