Should We Institute PAYT ?

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Should We Institute PAYT ?

Postby joe179 » Wed May 10, 2006 6:47 pm

As the TS matter is past debate, perhaps we should be thinking about how to reduce the tax burden of the operation.

In this time of tax reduction endeavors, the matter of TS use-- who funds it--who uses it ---and who does not-- causes me to wonder about fairness.

Town tax and fee payers basically fund the operation. The users of the TS are only a portion of those who pay for it's operation. Therefore, in the interests of equity, and to reduce the overall burden on those who fund the operation -- wouldn't it be fair to institute PAYT? Wouldn't PAYT be a good measure towards reducing our overall tax burden?

Please post your thoughts :) :) :)
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Postby andysinnh » Wed May 10, 2006 7:08 pm

So I have a question - if I pay a local hauler today to pick up my trash weekly, and occasionally make a weekend run to the TS, will PAYT cost me more than it does today?

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Postby Wayne » Wed May 10, 2006 7:46 pm

Yes, everyone who now pays a private hauler will pay less than PAYT at the TS - especially when you figure in $3 gas for making your deliveries. PAYT would force people to see the real cost of having the TS - that's why self-haulers are so against it.

Norm and Fitzy can give you all the facts and figures, but this SWAC Report is probably still pretty accurate.

Does anyone know if the BOS/Town Council are authorized to make such a decision?
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Postby Kathy » Thu May 11, 2006 4:41 am

I believe instituting a PAYT system would help show how many out-of-towners are using our transfer station. My husband has seen MA plates on cars at the TS on a few occasions, as have some friends who also say they know some Bedford residents who use it because it is closer to their homes and are not asked to prove they are Merrimack residents.

Before starting PAYT, how about just posting someone to check for Merrimack residency and see how this affects flow? Also, can the non-residents be fined?

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Postby RBarnes » Thu May 11, 2006 6:37 am

Kathy wrote:Before starting PAYT, how about just posting someone to check for Merrimack residency and see how this affects flow? Also, can the non-residents be fined?


Kathy, I’ve brought up that same question and made that point to Ed Chase. The response I got was that they do check for stickers and that every car they’ve stopped without a sticker has been able to show ID. My thought on this is sometimes people “loseâ€
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Postby Dennis King » Thu May 11, 2006 10:25 am

Rick, you hit a nerve with this 2/3 subsidizing the other 1/3.

This was the devide and conquer strategy used by the supporters to push for curbside so the town dump could be closed.

First, the town dump did close, all the birds have flown away (I miss the turkey vultures)

Second, condo's pay for many services including snow removal, lawn maintenance, and trash pick up. The homeowners are out moving their own lawns (we need to put the clippings and yard waste some where), shoveling their own snow, and transporting their own trash. Now they can do what condo owners do and pay for these services any many do it BY CHOICE.

The town is mandated to provide a method for waste disposal. The town voted for the CHOICE of the TS. I am sure condo owners use it when the have furniture or old carpets to remove or if they simply do not want to wait for trash day as they had a big party and lots of trash from it.

I could look around and see a lot of things in this town that I don't use but pay for. The library costs 1.5 million in taxes, my kids never use it, everything they need is on line or assigned by their teachers. I do not use the senior center, the MYA (did in the past but kids too old now), town welfare, etc; As a taxpayer, I also am part owner in a town lake that we can't access because of a day camp.

How about the 1/3 that have no kids supporting the other 2/3 how do?

I can point to lots of these situations but the reality is a town needs to provide services and some use them, others may not but we all pay for them.

PAYT will not save much money as we do not make much on recyclables (the only ones that pay anything are the alumimun cans and we already have the can's for kids bins). The only real benefit is the reduced tonage we are not putting into the landfill in Rochester but still when you factor tha labor costs to run the recycling center, I bet it is a wash. We do it because it feels right, not to really save money.

So why PAYT, well I believe the push started during the debate on the TS and CS because the curbside supporters wanted to make the TS more of a chore to scare away votes. The even detailed the process of getting bags from the town (oh great now I have to go to town hall to get rid of my trash), then it was a one size fits all (I have 55 gallon drum cans used for recycling, I would have to scrap that for a 33 gallon standard mandated by the town).

Now you have to hire someone to buy the bags, store the bags, sell the bags, and then ENFORCE that only their bags are being used! All this takes man hours.

I would not be surprised if you found it COSTS more money for PAYT.

It is a feel good idea that does not pan out.

Now as to Kathy's idea, I agree wholeheartedly. I believe the police currently come once a year to inspect and issue new stickers. I think we can pull the officer off Continential Blvd twice a month at random to solve this problem. A few hours at a time should send the message. One citation for illegal dumping would make the rounds to our friends in Bedford to stop this unneighboorly practice. It may take the out of towners a little longer but that is why we do it twice a month. I think warm weather brings out more illegal dumping so in the winter they could do it only once a month nd still be effective.

I am sure chief Mulligan would be happy to do this if only he was asked. I like the random inspections as it would be easier for them to do (when crime is "slow" and for the rest of us with our stickers, no big deal as we just wave as we pass).

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Postby Michael Pelletier » Thu May 11, 2006 11:10 am

Dennis King wrote:How about the 1/3 that have no kids supporting the other 2/3 how do?

Yeah, how about that?

I mean, what a concept, people paying for the education of their own children like they pay for their own groceries in an environment of profit-seeking free-market competition, and narrowly-targeted tax incentives and private and public charity.

Think it would work? I mean, the grocery stores do, somehow, last I heard, and obesity is a problem among the poor in the US.
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Postby Ann Goldman » Thu May 11, 2006 11:24 am

How about sticking to the topic Michael?

Dennis,

Comparing human services to trash services is illogical.

You can easily control the amount of trash you generate by recycling and using less disposables. By insitituting PAYT you encourage people to be less wasteful which is better for the environment and benefits everyone.
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Postby Norman Phillips » Thu May 11, 2006 11:45 am

Dennis King wrote:Rick, you hit a nerve with this 2/3 subsidizing the other 1/3.

This was the devide and conquer strategy used by the supporters to push for curbside so the town dump could be closed.
-----Dennis


Again, you are way off base, Dennis.

PAYT was pushed most strongly by the original SWAC committee. ( Their minutes are no longer available. I recall that they went into considerable detail. ) The consultant hired by the town showed that total costs for citizens would be less with curbside pickup, while the town budget would be less for the TS, once the TS had been built. The consultant strongly recommended PAYT as a means to keep traffic on Lawrence Road under control as self-hauling would increase under a system like we have now.

As an advocate for curbside, I recognized that PAYT was a reasonable thing to do for either TS or curbside. Some curbside advocates did not like PAYT, on the other hand. Therefore we did not push PAYT, contrary to your recollections, Dennis.
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Postby uscitizen03054 » Thu May 11, 2006 11:51 am

Speaking of subsidies, when is a large segment of the US population going to pay their fair share of federal taxes? I worry more about this than the situation with our TS.


http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/js1287.htm

- In 2001, the latest year of available data, the top 5 percent of taxpayers paid more than one-half (53.3 percent) of all individual income taxes, but reported roughly one-third (32.0 percent) of income.

- The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 33.9 percent of all individual income taxes in 2001. This group of taxpayers has paid more than 30 percent of individual income taxes since 1995. Moreover, since 1990 this group’s tax share has grown faster than their income share.

- Taxpayers who rank in the top 50 percent of taxpayers by income pay virtually all individual income taxes. In all years since 1990, taxpayers in this group have paid over 90 percent of all individual income taxes. In 2000 and 2001, this group paid over 96 percent of the total.
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Postby Fitzy » Thu May 11, 2006 12:00 pm

My God Dennis, the more you release of your supposed "knowledge" regarding this issue, the more clear it becomes you have none.

As Norman noted, PAYT was first suggested and supported by the original SWAC, all of whom were TS supporters. This took place long before I ever joined it. It was never a part of the CS proposal, nor did we ever hope it would scare anyone away from a TS. It was irrelevant. If we had thought it could be used as a scare tactic we'd have tied the PAYT article to the TS article when we were busy tying it to the land article. Think Dennis, think.

In addition, if you bothered to actually pay attention long enough you would have noted that Norman and I both spoke in favor of PAYT, along with several dozen TS supporters.

Here we have you once again making assumptions regarding the financial benefit of something about which you obviously know very little. This would be fun to watch were it not for the fact that other even more lazy people are swayed by such foolishness.

Its a good thing you're not responsible for anything really important.

I love the analogy of schools to trash. Only you would make such a comparison. A "world class" transfer station....oh my God.
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Postby RBarnes » Thu May 11, 2006 12:03 pm

Dennis King wrote:Rick, you hit a nerve with this 2/3 subsidizing the other 1/3.

This was the devide and conquer strategy used by the supporters to push for curbside so the town dump could be closed.


Dennis there is nothing deceptive about it, it’s a matter of fact which you acknowledge within your own post.

Dennis King wrote:Second, condo's pay for many services including snow removal, lawn maintenance, and trash pick up. The homeowners are out moving their own lawns (we need to put the clippings and yard waste some where), shoveling their own snow, and transporting their own trash. Now they can do what condo owners do and pay for these services any many do it BY CHOICE.


Yes, condo owners do have to pay for many services because they enter into a collective unit (the condos) and live on private roads (people who own homes in new developments sometimes live on privately owned roads as well and have to pay for their snow removal). But by and large condos assess much less then homes do so condo owners pay less over all in their taxes so while yes their taxes would drop if we went to PAYT it would drop by far less percentage wise then that of say an elderly person still clinging to living in their own home who may not be able to haul their own trash.

Dennis King wrote:The town is mandated to provide a method for waste disposal.


Dennis, that’s an incorrect statement. The town is required by law to provide ACCESS to waste disposal. There is nothing in the RSA stating that the town must provide it. My argument is that if we closed the station down altogether and allowed the local haulers to break up the market among themselves we’d still be following the law but alas that’s not the discussion here, we’re discussing the merit of PAYT.

Dennis King wrote:The town voted for the CHOICE of the TS.


Dennis, I’d have to argue that many voted on the promises of that million in tax savings which we now know doesn’t exist.

Dennis King wrote:I am sure condo owners use it when the have furniture or old carpets to remove or if they simply do not want to wait for trash day as they had a big party and lots of trash from it.


PAYT would not prevent them from doing that at all. They would just pay a small fee when they do dump whatever it is they wish to discard.

Dennis King wrote:I could look around and see a lot of things in this town that I don't use but pay for. The library costs 1.5 million in taxes, my kids never use it, everything they need is on line or assigned by their teachers. I do not use the senior center, the MYA (did in the past but kids too old now), town welfare, etc; As a taxpayer, I also am part owner in a town lake that we can't access because of a day camp.


There is no law requiring that we have a library or senior center of many of those things (not sure what the welfare laws are) so if you disagree with those things then by all means put closing them down up to a vote and let’s open the discussion!

Dennis King wrote:PAYT will not save much money as we do not make much on recyclables (the only ones that pay anything are the alumimun cans and we already have the can's for kids bins).


Did someone here say it would?

It would encourage more recycling yes, which in turn would save us a little money but I agree we wouldn’t see huge tax dollar savings due to recycling.

Further more I think your missing the key argument if you think this is it… the key is those who don’t use the service would be the ones saying a ton of money on their taxes.

The average home owner is paying over $100 a year (at least, don’t have the exact number) for the transfer station. That means two thirds of this town would see a permanent drop over $100+ in their taxes. People this year were thrilled over a drop due to the closing of the library reserve fund and that was only a one time deal, don’t you think they’d jump at a savings that they would benefit from every single year for as long as they live in Merrimack?

Dennis King wrote:So why PAYT, well I believe the push started during the debate on the TS and CS because the curbside supporters wanted to make the TS more of a chore to scare away votes.


Ok well the transfer station debate is over… it has been built… what’s the problem with the PAYT argument now?

Dennis King wrote:The even detailed the process of getting bags from the town (oh great now I have to go to town hall to get rid of my trash), then it was a one size fits all (I have 55 gallon drum cans used for recycling, I would have to scrap that for a 33 gallon standard mandated by the town).


In town’s I’ve lived in where PAYT was implemented I’ve seen it done one of two ways…

Blue bags in which local businesses (Shaws, Zylas etc) would buy the bags from the town then sell them. The businesses would usually make 3 to 5 cents per bag so they benefit as well.

The other way was an annual permit. You pay X amount for a sticker and can use the dump all you want during the year.

Dennis King wrote:Now you have to hire someone to buy the bags, store the bags, sell the bags, and then ENFORCE that only their bags are being used! All this takes man hours.

…

Now as to Kathy's idea, I agree wholeheartedly. I believe the police currently come once a year to inspect and issue new stickers. I think we can pull the officer off Continential Blvd twice a month at random to solve this problem. A few hours at a time should send the message. One citation for illegal dumping would make the rounds to our friends in Bedford to stop this unneighboorly practice. It may take the out of towners a little longer but that is why we do it twice a month. I think warm weather brings out more illegal dumping so in the winter they could do it only once a month nd still be effective.


So you want to enforce for stickers but think it would be too costly for enforcing blue bags???

And for the record we already have that guy that stands around most of the time who in theory is supposedly checking for stickers. Instead of stickers, just tell him look for blue bags.

But ok, let’s assume it puts more of a cost on those using the station? It’s their CHOICE is it not? Then can always turn around and hire a hauler.
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Postby joe179 » Thu May 11, 2006 7:22 pm

We have a nice TS. It costs us money to operate it. We pay for the employees, equipment, hauling, tipping fees in Rochester, disposal fees for electronics and other waste and we have a net loss on recycles. We should be looking at all ways to reduce taxation-- and PAYT is a means to accomplish this goal. For that matter mandatory recycling would also help to reduce costs. There are many recyclable materials thrown in the "pit". We not only lose money on the recyclables thrown there, but we have to pay to haul and dump them elsewhere. Not a logical situation since we are talking about reducing municipal spending.

What we're also talking about here is equity. Those who use it help pay to fund it. As a matter of fact I use the TS weekly. I haul my household trash, recycles, leaves and brush there. I would have to pay also. I don't find it appalling-- I find it fair.
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Yard waste and big stuff

Postby NEO » Tue May 30, 2006 6:45 pm

Let me begin by saying that I was against putting the transfer station on Lawrence Road. It is a poor location for that type of facility.

I'm one of those self haulers, not because I want to be, but the wife is frugal and my time is free as far as she is concerned.

What I would like is a curbside and also a place to bring yard waste and big PAYT stuff.

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