Selectman Barry Greenfield proposes that the town institute a "pay as you go" trash pickup system as a fair solution to the condo trash collection issue.
His proposal, which 130 Massachusetts communities use, would refund the trash pickup costs to town residents and charge them for each bag of trash they put out for collection.
The town would save money, and residents would pay only for the trash they disposed of, Greenfield said.
Selectman Glenn Kessler agreed that the "pay as you go" system may work for Swampscott.
The system would require residents to pay a fixed price for each bag or can of garbage they generate in much the same way they pay for other utilities such as electricity and water service. In most localities, the per-bag or per-container system replaces or reduces flat fees all residents paid garbage haulers directly or through their property taxes.
Proponents say billing by the bag gives a boost to recycling. And they argue the shift of garbage expenses out of the property tax structure promotes fairness. No longer, they say, will small families who produce little garbage underwrite large families who fill several cans a week.
The board agreed to discuss the issue at its next meeting on Jan. 23 and encourage the Board of Health to consider adopting a pay as you go system.