It’s a shame we use so much junk, especially plastic, because it’s getting harder and more expensive each year to get rid of the stuff. Faraway countries that used to take our trash and recyclables no longer welcome the business, and those still taking it are charging more and forcing American waste companies to reconsider disposal options domestically. It all adds up to higher costs for municipal governments and ultimately us, the ratepayers.
On Monday in Milton — and we’re sure we’ll see similar situations elsewhere in the foreseeable future — a Special Town Meeting will tackle a budget shortfall caused by an unanticipated hike of nearly $820,000 in the town’s contract for solid waste disposal and recycling. Milton’s Warrant Committee reported that the town in the next fiscal year will have to deal with continued “dramatic” increases in the cost of recycling and waste disposal.
“We will address these challenges against a backdrop of limited revenue growth for the Town, which has been a source of concern for some time,” the Warrant Committee’s report said. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. in the Milton High School auditorium. For more information, visit www.townofmilton.org.
Eminent arbitration: Waltham and the Trustees of the Stigmatine Fathers will seek a mediated settlement Thursday of a dispute holding up the city’s effort to build a new $375 million high school on land formerly owned by the religious order. The two sides recently agreed to enter into mediation over the fight stemming from the city’s $18 million eminent domain taking of the Stigmatines’ 46-acre Lexington Street site last year. Waltham is under time pressure to resolve the issue, as it stands to potentially lose $110 million in funding for the project from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The state agency in February approved the plan to build the school on the property but contingent on the city gaining full ownership and exclusive use of the site. The 1,830-student school would be the state’s most expensive. Visit www.stigmatines.com.
Jingle lights: Is it that time already for holiday lights and jingly bells? In Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace’s “Holiday Tree” will be lit Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The publicity material we received says the 65-foot Norway spruce will be lit with thousands of blinking lights synchronized to music. If you can’t make it to the lighting, which also marks the start of the marketplace’s mesmerizing “Blink!” show, you can see it broadcast live on WBZ-TV. Visit www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com.
In Medfield, the town’s fifth annual “Holiday Stroll” takes place Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. along Main Street (Route 109), Spring Street (Route 27), and North Street. Highlights include a tree lighting and singing contest at Baxter Park, food trucks, carolers, and photos with Santa. Visit www.medfieldculture.org.
In Medford, the 21st annual “Jingle Bell Festival” tree-lighting ceremony happens on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at City Hall Plaza. A number of donated holiday trees and decorations are also on display in the city hall until a raffle is held on Sunday benefiting the Medford Community Family Buddy Coholan Memory Loss Center. Visit www.jinglebellfestival.org.
In Methuen, the 26th annual “Festival of Trees” runs from 5 to 9 p.m. through Saturday at 13 Branch St. featuring 240 decorated trees, shopping, a café, and online auction. Enter a raffle to win the donated trees, wreaths, and a $5,000 cash prize. Visit www.methuenfestivaloftrees.com.
In Plymouth, the Americana Theatre Company performs a holiday season production of “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” based on the 1940s movie, starting on Saturday at 8 p.m. Performances are at the Plymouth Center for the Arts, 11 North St., on selected dates through Dec. 15. Visit www.americanatheatre.org.
In Stoneham, “ZooLights” continues at the Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., with tree-lined paths lit by thousands of twinkling lights from 5 to 9 p.m. through Jan. 4. Visit www.stonezoo.org.
In Sudbury, the Sudbury Art Association’s annual “Holiday Market” is open at 29 Hudson Road from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Dec. 24 with arts and crafts for sale by 26 local artists. There’s an open house celebration until 8 p.m. on Saturday on the night of the town tree and menorah lighting ceremony. Visit www.sudburyart.org.
L. Kim Tan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.