Councilors consider cost-cutting curbside composting

City Councilors Matt O'Malley (JP, West Roxbury) and Ayanna Pressley (at large) say it's time for the city to look at picking up food scraps from Boston residents, to reduce the city's trash-disposal costs and create new fertilizer for local parks and even farms.

The City Council tomorrow considers their request to start the process rolling.

In their request to the full council for a hearing on the issue, O'Malley and Pressley note that Bootstrap Compost of Jamaica Plain has diverted 240,000 pounds of food scraps from landfills since 2011 - and that's with just 550 residential and 21 commercial customers.


Local colleges have embraced composting programs, with Boston University diverting 1,120 tons of compost from its waste and Harvard University planning to become “zero waste” by 2020 through increased composting among other initiatives

The program would harken back to the days when there was a difference between garbage and trash, and the former was picked up by local pig farmers to feed their animals.




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    PDF icon Curbside composting proposal68.93 KB


    Garbage Can

    By on

    Since I'm ancient, I remember having what we called a "garbage can" in our backyard in Dorchester. It was actually a cement-lined hole, into which fit a steel receptacle with handle. There was a heavy iron lid on the hole, with a foot pedal for opening it. These were installed by the city, I believe. And the garbage man would come into your backyard once a week, carry the steel receptacle out to his wagon and dump it, then return it to the cement-lined hole.

    There were ALWAYS maggots in the hole, no matter how much your mom or dad or you might have tried to clean the thing. That was always good for grossing out your visiting relatives from the suburbs.

    Old Dorchester Garbage Can


    Voting is closed. 17

    you only get maggots if you

    you only get maggots if you put meat in there. Compost rules dictate no animal products (except egg shells) and no bread (which just turns into bricks of mold).

    I think curbside compost pickup is a super idea - I was very jealous when I went to Toronto a few years back & saw their system.

    Voting is closed. 21


    By on

    We've still got one of these in our backyard. The little critters have moved on thankfully.

    Voting is closed. 15

    We had three kinds of trash

    By on

    We had three kinds of trash growing up in suburban NY in the 60s: food waste (in the hole in the ground with the maggots), metal, and everything else. Three different trucks came for the three different kinds of trash but I don't think they were all weekly. Plus all glass bottles were deposit (and soda and beer was mostly sold in glass) so we saved those to return on our own. Our milk was delivered by a milkman so those glass bottles didn't go in the trash either.

    Plastic containers and bags were relatively rare - things like cottage cheese and yogurt came in waxed cartons, meats and cheese were cut to order and wrapped in butcher wrap. Our family of six probably generated about the same volume of garbage that I do now all by myself. I still feel weird throwing some big plastic thing, like from a salad bar, in the trash.

    Voting is closed. 20

    "Food Waste" versus "Compost"

    I lived in one community where all food waste went into a separate bin, because the local hog farmer bought it for slop. This included the leftovers at school - we would scrape them into a bucket and the farmer would come get the buckets each day.

    I suspect there was an industrial or agricultural purchaser of food waste in the area at one time.

    Compost is a bit different - you want stuff that breaks down easily, e.g. no fats or meats.

    Although maggots are kind of cool. They can also be life saving - they are very good at preventing gangrene by eating dead but not rotted skin.

    Voting is closed. 14

    You can compost any food

    By on

    You can compost any food scraps, including fats, meats, and bones, but it just depends on what your composting facilities can handle. Fats and meats take longer to breakdown. You also need a good balance of carbon rich stuff like leaves. If you have a high volume of food scraps coming in, and you have limited space, then you want your breakdown and turnover to happen relatively quickly. That's why, for most urban based compost programs, like Bootstrap, you can't include the stuff that takes longer to breakdown. If the facilities have the time and space, they can do it all. Ipswich has an optional curbside composting program that's super cheap to buy into, and comes with finished nutrient rich compost at the end. The town facilities, for now, can handle all food scraps. I barely have anything to put out in the trash can these days, and it's awesome.

    Voting is closed. 24

    Right. I would imagine that

    Right. I would imagine that a municipal program would have the capabilities to break down meat and animal food scraps. The backyard program I participate in now has really cut down on the amount of trash I put on the curb (also because we can recycle so much these days) and I like it.

    Voting is closed. 14


    By on

    That backyard program is called…?

    Voting is closed. 10

    I remember that

    By on

    I grew up in Milton and we had those too. There was the back yard garbage (all food scraps), the front street garbage (tins, cans), and the barrel behind the garage where the paper was burned. We also piled the fall leaves on the street in front of the house on the verge and after we jumped in them my father burned them. The smell of burning leaves was the smell of fall.

    Voting is closed. 19

    Hope this gets some traction.

    By on

    JP had this service last summer, and it was great! It wasn't curbside, but you could bring your compost to the Egleston Farmer's Market (I think Allston and Mattapan also had pickup sites) for free every week--the service was called Greenovate, and I got the impression that it was municipally funded. It was eye-opening for my wife and I, because it cut our trash output by almost half, and it's nice to know that our food waste was going toward something useful.

    Hope this gets some traction.

    Voting is closed. 19

    Not yet at Egleston

    By on

    I believe that at least over the winter the market's website had a note saying that composting material was accepted for the time being. Checked the website but could not see anything on it. But then the market is closed until June anyway.

    Voting is closed. 13

    Yes. We actually switched to

    Yes. We actually switched to a very small kitchen trash can because of the program. Between what we can recycle and what we can compost, what we actually need to throw away as "trash" has been significantly reduced.

    Voting is closed. 16

    We are very interested in

    By on

    We are very interested in this development.

    Voting is closed. 22

    Let's not forget

    By on

    They should include composting of dog shit. Now that the snow is melting, you can see the need to get rid of tons of this stuff.

    Voting is closed. 23

    cc03122014.sgstn StenoGraph StenoNote Public Meet City Council

    By on

    March 12, 2014 Public Meeting Boston City Council
    cc03122014.txt text lines only
    interpolated from cc03122014.sgstn StenoGraph StenoNote

    {^}troke {^}troke today is Wednesday March [12] {,} [2] thousand
    [4] [paragraph] Baker Ciommo familiar Jackson
    [STPH-FRPLT] all present {:} LaMattina present Councilor McCarthy
    here - Councilor Linehan here [linebreak] Councilor Murphy
    - here [linebreak] Councilor O'Malley - present [linebreak]
    Councilor [President|Pressley] - presents [linebreak] Councilor
    Wu - present [linebreak] Councilor Yancy -
    here [linebreak] Councilor Zakim [STKPHR-FRPLTS] clerk clerk
    Mr. President Mr. President we've a quorum [paragraph] I have been
    informed by the clerk that a quorum is present . I would ask
    at this time for all Councilors and guests to please rise
    . I invite Councilor McCarthy to the podium to
    introduce today's [KHRERPBLG] [KHRERPBLG] . After {in^} vocation
    is [TKHREUFRDZ] I would ask all members and guests to remain
    stand {^ing} and to recite the pledge of allege ledge
    of which Councilor McCarthy will lead us in . Councilor McCarthy
    {,} you're introduction . [paragraph] McCarthy
    . Thank {,}you Mr. President . Good after noon {,} [-FRB]
    . It's migrate pleasure sure [TOEUBTS] dues {a^} great
    friend of Ross and {a^} good friend of all {:} sister
    Nance {^cy} brace land . She's {a^} sister in saint
    [SKWROES] [SKWROES] {co-^} [TPOUB] [TKER] of the sass early {^inous}
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    reed reed [-PBL] [SKWRAPBLG] jam sisters of saint Joseph
    of Boston . The Kass Kass house is {a^} name hood center
    . They've morning programs adults programs helping adults immigrants
    after {&v} after school programs help kids with home work thinks
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    department {&E.} they're really found {^ed} on [3] core programs
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    . She's the pit my of what {a^} Christian should be it's my
    pleasure pleasure to introduce seance ter Nance Nance brace
    brace . [paragraph] if there are know correction [TOBS] maid
    the minutes of lass weeks {^'} meeting will stand approved .
    Seeing and hearing know {,} {^s} [paragraph] [paragraph]
    [paragraph] [paragraph] funds {^ing} for the lib [HRAOEUB]
    [HRAOEUB] . Department department for the financial year [14]
    increase [KRAOEFRS] [-FPLTS] agreement between the city Of
    Boston and pub boss bon [THOFRPBLT] . Prose in addition until
    staff {a^} association . [P-FPLT] {.}is {&I.} {&I.} . Docket
    number [0] [3] {ever^} [4] [-789D] [-PBLGTSDZ] [PHELGTS] [ALGTS]
    [OPBLTDZ] estimate Al appropriation of [4] hundred and [13] thousand
    [1-6] [0] for the Boston pub public [HRAOEUB] [HRAOEUB] pro pro
    staff financial year [14] . Contained license the collective
    bargaining agreement between the city of Boston and
    the [HRAOEUB] [HRAOEUB] prove prove staff {a^} association [P-FPLT]
    St. [AEUFPLT] filed in the office sift {^ity} clerk on March
    [-7] the [20] [14] . Docket [0] [4] [-78] and [0] [4] [-79] will be
    {a^} [SAOEUPBDZ] to the committee on Ways and Means . [linebreak]
    [linebreak] Councilor Ciommo {im^} asking my colleagues to suspend
    and pass these [2] docket . This is the lass civilian union
    to come to agreement with the city . It implement packets [14-8]
    [HRAOEUB] [HRAOEUB] Yancy . It's the same wage pattern
    ever all the other [K-RTS] that we've approved over the pass
    year plus so {im^} asking my colleagues to [SPUS] spends and
    pass . There's one [PRAOE] vision with the [HRAOEUB] [HRAOEUB]
    suss specifically that goes to {a^} five day work work to be
    opening . Bran . On Sundays {^s}{a^} well {^s}{a^} the bran .
    [HRAOEUB] [HRAOEUB] with sat sat hours . So I would ask my colleagues
    to sport this . [paragraph] could be Ciommo [PHAOFS] suss
    suspension of the rules {^age} package of docket [KET] [0] [4]
    [-78] . All in favor say Aye . All opposed nigh
    . Ayes have it and docket [0] [4-8] [-78] has [PW-PBS] passed
    [paragraph] [TPHR-RPBLGS] [STPHAOFRPBLGTS] [UFRPLGTS] Councilor
    policewomen thyme [THAOEUFPLT] [THAOEUFPLTS] [0] [4] [-79] all
    in favor a sigh {&u} eye . [AUPL] opposed nigh .
    [AOEUTS] have [TAPT] dock [0] [4] [-79] has passed [paragraph]
    madam clerk {,} please reed record of public office
    [EURS] and others {:} [paragraph] [0] [4] [-8] [0] . Unless
    {^s} received from speck strum edge {en^} regarding Al gas transmission
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    [R-FPLT] docket number [P-FPLT] in{.} [13] -- [1-6] --
    [0] [0] [0] [STKPWHREFRPBLGTS] docket [0] [4] [-8] [0] will be
    placed on file [paragraph] madam clerk please
    Riess reed motion {^es} orders and resolution us [paragraph]
    [0] [4] [-8] [2] [HAO*ERBG] on [TPAOEUS] {^ibility} of [KORB]
    side compose about {^ing} op stilt I off boss boss boss [paragraph]
    O'Malley . Thank {,}you Mr. President I'd like to begin
    by saying the green advertise we see not only for
    saint Pat day infection week but also for the great
    legs {^ulation} being proposed {^ed to} myself Councilor press
    and my deer friends Councilor Baker . [0] [4] [-8]
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    [TPHERP] Councilor at large Councilor Arroyo and I [TAOEPBLD]
    up for this and several members of the add [PH-RGS] and [ABG]
    [SREUTS] involved with this and we were able to sharing {a^}
    great amount of observation and be [RAEUBL] to share San excite
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    beginning at the infection level . Yesterday at coalition of
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    {a^} sets of the [REPBLGS] edges at {a^} - [-RPLT] report eye
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    norm muss credit began dog {a^} volume tar {^ry} at [3] farm
    {^%} {^'s} mark et cetera back in argue August this year Harry
    El El scare and {en^} [SKWR] Jen . Middle of August throughout
    ends of October and {^us} and {ex-^} dote {^ly} met with tremendous
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    and other thinks to be compose the . The about{.} [R-FPLT] amount of
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    - [EUFPLTS] {dis^} [KHROERB] [THAOUR] ordinance lass year
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    {^ry} need to take it not infection level . [TKPOET] {^ing} is
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    great material lands [SKAEUPGDZ] {ab^} argue culture . Other
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    for example did I [SRERTS] [-78] {^%} of its ways from lands
    fills is now being [KPWOES] Ted and {re^} psyche [-LDZ] . In
    its first year of [KPAOURB] [SAOEUP] organ . Track
    Poe [3-7] {^%} . In . I ways they'd one peek up and now
    they do it [2] times {a^} {^mont} every {^ry} other week because
    the need is there . Cambridge has consult Ted feasibility
    study doctoring the lass summer in [20] [12] and think of begun
    I belief in an {^a} January . {^us} [2] [PHOPBTS] ago {a^}
    one year curb side [TKPOET] {^ing} for [-8] hundred [HOULS] holds
    in {a^} {^mont} . There are local business {^s about} that do
    this . [PWAOTD] strap [KPWOES] {^ing} which has five fist {^ity}
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    has divert Ted Moore [TPHAPB] [240] thousand [PUPBDZ] of food
    gram interest . {&I.} ferret lice {^*ers} since [2] thousand
    [1] [1] . Colleges and [KWRAOUPBS] [KWRAOUPBS] have {em^} [PWRAEUPLS]
    {^ed} these programs thar work being har [SRARDZ] Boston you know
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    success happen . Economics of it with we've [WAOEFB] dog some
    great thinks with our {re^} cycling single stream
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    if [TKAOPB] right we're pack paid person [TPHAOPBLG] {:} [TKPOEPT]
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    {&I.} . Every knew from this think . And also week talk
    about ways week work to youse this [TPOEURT] lice loans -
    parks and city [TPAOEULDZ] {,} its [AETS] rich in newt
    [KWREPBTS] [HELT] {^ier} and can be youse {^ed} for all fin [EURBDZ]
    lands [SKAEUPG] in the [STEUFT] boss [TOFPBLT] when I was dog
    some {re^} certificate . For this hearing order I looked again
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    for {.}it this year in {^s}{a^} well in [20] [14] {on^} they'd
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    [25] mill . - - [25] [PHEUPBLS] mill tons of foot
    all compromise material ban ban peels and coffee grounds
    and [-FRG] . And if it was compose Ted that tones every riff
    year it would be the equivalent of [PHAOFG] [-7] point [-8] [PH-L]
    passenger [KARBS] [TPR-TS] rode . Greenhouse [KPAOT] {^ing}
    of composing . Throw out every {^ry} year would be the [KWEUF]
    Lenz of [PHAOFG] yearly [-8] [PH-L] cars from the rode river
    year . This is one ever those [TKPWRAEUTD] {in^} {^ish} [TEUFS]
    I belief {^s that} great for the environment and if done
    right also good for the tax pairing ladies and gentlemen [HRAEUPBLGS]
    in my opinion it does [-PBTS] get any [PWER] than that{.}
    . Hearing ways that week make sure this works looking
    at pilot program in fact sit it {^ity} someone and some of the
    knew folks to make sure #M{.} [P-FPLT] [W-FPLT] done
    right . I think this is {a^} El rye excite {&I.} .
    Work all of you've to make it {re^} {^ality} . Thank {,}you
    Mr. President [paragraph] coupon [President|Pressley] . [paragraph]
    profession press . Thank {,}you Mr. President Mr. President .
    Thank you Councilor owe poivre for insight {^ing} me to partner
    on you . Added and foundation established with form [PHER] Councilor
    Arroyo . And I do {^us} want to say for those thar watching
    {,} correct me {.}I wrong -- that what prom Ted that
    efforts and add Kass {^cy} was in direct response [STOT] feedback
    we received at the state of familiar Jamacia Plain for
    rum so never doubt impact of the [SEUFPBG] engage
    . And speak up and out . [AORD] {^ing} {^ly} . Additional
    to the {en^} {en^} benefits which Councilor O'Malley has already
    particularly arctic late Ted in the six [SES] of the green
    I abate by pot [PRAFPLT] [-PLS] . Mark [KETS] in egg [-L]
    done Jen this does seem {a^} natural infection step .
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    around the economic anymore {&I.} mord in is [SPEGS] {^ly} timely
    . So the [STEUFT] [PWOFS] ton [PHAPBLGSZ] [240] thousand tons
    ever ways each year but organ nick ways food and
    yard . [25] and fifty {^%} of what people three away
    . In [TP-FPLT] in{.} [13] people [STEPBDZ] {:} - [TRARBG]
    clerks . [ROUFL] {^ly} half of which funds [-PD] disposal
    expenses . So this propose Sal is [SPEGS] {^ly} timely
    {^s}{a^} the city considers the knew [TRAFRBG] collect [TORS]
    considerate that'll go into effect this sum [SPHER] {:} {im^}
    [PHOEPL] [EFRPLTS] . Proposals [-L] sa {^s}{a^} soft case {&i}
    savings prose [POEPB] {#Return} I commend the maker and thank
    forty opportunity to response sore the [SHARPBLGS] is - [STHAO]
    [STKPWHRAFRPBLGTS] Linehan thank you Councilor [President|Pressley]
    . [paragraph] Flaherty . Please at my
    [linebreak] [STKAO*FS] dodge dock [0] [4] [-78] [2-6789] Councilor
    Baker [OFRDZ] the following resolution to turn offer none
    [SEPBGS] city [HRAOEUDZ] in sport of ert hour [20] [14] {:}
    thank {,}you Mr. President Mr. President . This here is Alesse
    resolution that was always done by Councilor Connolly {,} and
    I [PEUBGDZ] this one up this year . This is for us to show sport
    is for ert [HOURT] wives an Yule awareness {e^} vents
    [EFRPBLTS] westerly while the [HRAOEUFPLT] {&I.} ert hour is
    asking us the it city and hover may listen to us {,}
    I don't know if anybody license to anybody in this room
    . But ert hour is on March [2-9] it thousand [14] between [-8]
    [30] and [-9] [0] [30] and none essential lights in the [STEUT]
    and hover else would like to join with us in dog that .
    {^us} again {,} shows of sport {&a} be I would like to
    ask for {a^} [S-SZ] suspension and package [paragraph] Councilor
    make bake you [PHAOFS] suss suspension and adoption of dock [KET]
    [0] [4] [-8] [2-6789] all those in favor say Aye . All opposed
    nay . The Ayes have tan docket [0] [4] [2-8] [2-8] is adopt
    Ted . [paragraph] madam clerk . I was remiss
    in assigning docket [0] [-8] [4] [1] assign [0] [4-8] [1] [TOLT]
    committee own sit [STEUT] neighbor neighbor certificate certificate
    and {a^} [linebreak] {im^} informed [PWAOEULT] clerk that there are
    know late filed matters at this time . Any one wishing
    to {re^} [PHAOF] marry from the green sheets may do so at this time
    . [paragraph] know take {^*ers} on the green sheets
    [STKPWHR-FPLTS] Baker bake id aid like to take
    {&u} make {a^} statement if possible . There's one late filed
    marry which in absence of the objection will be added to the
    consent {a^} Jen [TKAFPLT] seeing and hearing no objection {,}
    the matters are added . - the chair [PHAOFS] adoption
    of the Connolly {a^} Jen [TKAFPLT] all those in favor say Aye
    . All those opposed nay . The Ayes have it {^ant} Connolly
    agenda and adopt Ted . [STKPWHRAFRPBLGTS] Councilor Baker
    . Baker . Id a like to ask [PEUR] mission
    to make {a^} [125EU789] {,} Mr. President Mr. President . Sorry
    for [S-BG] show chat {^ity} {^ed to} {,} too . I'd like to
    invite people to -- its eight {a^} panel discussion at wheel
    lock college [3] [35] on Thursday ar particular particular [20]
    the battling the section industry . In some of our neighbors
    hides might be in tick and you know who has it . We've prostitution
    that happens on the street . One of the people {^s that} going
    to be here is from Stockholm to talk about the nor dick model
    changes the way we look at the street level prostitution
    and there's [THAUBG] they've total [THREU] eradicate Ted it in
    stock hole being so I wants to make sure people know [3]
    [30] to five wheel lock college at the brook line campus
    . If [PAOERPL] are interested in going . Maid be interested in
    something like this . It'll be hopeful {^ly} {a^} [HELT] think
    discussion and come ut with some ideas to help the [STREUBGTS]
    suffering threw this because it's not {^us} the people thar object
    street its [AETS] much deep [PEFR] than that and I think its
    a something we should all be talking about and not be afraid
    to talk about and thank you . [paragraph] thank ig
    Councilor Baker for that important announce . .
    At this time I'd like to take {a^} opportunity to wish all my
    [KHRAOEPGS] happen happen saint Papa pat day and evaluation
    day in sit [STKEU] of Boston this week [EPBLDZ] and on Monday
    . [UFRL] {^ly} ill be not be here . Tat . Ill be
    representing all you've {^s}{a^} the [President|Pressley] in the
    city {^ive} limb limb where the mayor has invite Ted
    me to [PARB] 'tis pate it in all of those fess [TEUFTS] [-FPLTS]
    also ill be celebrating Han Han at [SKWR-FPLT] [SKWR-FPLT] foal
    [HREUS] and you're all welcome top come and participate in that
    . Saint Pat and {e^} {e^} ar very key Ann important
    dates here in the [STEUFT] Boston and once in which we celebrate
    and recognize importantly and do {a^} really good [SKROB]
    of it . I'd like to take the time . I [HREUS]
    like you to [TPHOEU] ill be dog {a^} on air life from limerick
    statement back to the [PWREBG] [TPAS] . Senator Linehan Dorchester
    for for has been curt [TUS] in allowing me to sends back
    {a^} message to all of you at the [PWREBG] [TPAS] . Have {a^}
    great weekends and at this time I'd like to ask all guests
    and members to please rise {^s}{a^} the them{.} member policemen
    {^ry} of following individual . Councilor Baker {,} Elaine
    [KR-FPLT] black man I have {er^} Ra . Pete terse and {^s}{a^}
    tas . Come mass {a^} Luke Kass . Councilor Ciommo .
    Early [R*EL] red creel . . [KOUPBS] Linehan and
    Flaherty . Rob [PWERDZ] {&E.} bib by divine
    . Councilor Flaherty {^'s} uncle . Jen [PH-FPLT] pick
    card and [SKWREUPBS] [1E7BD] [SKWR-FPLT] [TPRAR] [TPRAR] seen
    seen . Councilor LaMattina [PARB] [PARB] green green .
    [HRORPBS] will{.} Johnson . {a^} [SKWROELD] star mother and
    U.S. nave I have vet . Paul bag {^ly} an France
    an 'tis [TPRAEUPBG] I can did I lease {^s} . Councilor O'Malley
    . {^ural} if [H-FPLT] young . Moment of [SAOEUL] lens
    {,} please . The chair [PHAOFS] when the Councilor adjourns
    {^ed to} it does so in memory of aforementioned individuals and
    scheduled to meet again on Wednesday March [2-6] the
    [20] [14] at [123] o'clock noon . All those in favor of
    add [SKWRAOURPB] . Say a . {e^} posed nay .
    Ayes have it [TAPBT] Councilor is adjourned [-FPLTS] . {^s} over
    over {:} {:} over over {:} {:} [12] [35]
    {.}is {:} {:}

    Voting is closed. 6