Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

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Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby WIZ » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:30 pm

From today's Nashua Telegraph

Published: Friday, December 19, 2008
Merrimack town manager wants 'pay to throw' trash plan
By KAREN LOVETT Staff Writer
klovett@nashuatelegraph.com
MERRIMACK – Along with next year's spending plan, residents will be asked to consider a different way to handle their trash.

As part of his initial budget presentation to the town council Thursday, Town Manager Keith Hickey proposed a "pay as you throw" program for the town's transfer station.

Right now, residents can bring waste to the town's transfer station for free, but it costs the town $58 a ton to take it to a landfill.

Under the pay to throw program, residents would buy trash bags for $1 or $1.50 – depending on the size – in order to throw away their trash at the transfer station.

Hickey said residents would be more inclined to use the town's recycling center because it would still be free to them.

The estimated savings to the town is $797,000.

Hickey also proposed a $22.61 million spending plan for next year, largely funded by taxpayers.

The proposal keeps the town's portion of the current tax rate the same at $4.23, but it is 2 percent higher than current spending, largely due to a budgeting change, Hickey said.

In years past, department leaders visited the council throughout the year to request money from reserve accounts to pay for certain equipment or projects.

This year, Hickey has built those anticipated withdrawal requests into the budget, which has inflated the number but does not mean taxpayers will pay more for it since the reserve money already exists.

Hickey also proposed some personnel changes, including eliminating a planning assistant in the town's community development department; downgrading a police dispatch supervisor to a standard dispatcher; and several other adjustments that don't eliminate jobs but lower wages.

The council will begin meeting with department heads about individual budgets Jan. 5.



Karen Lovett can be reached at 594-6402 or klovett@nashuatelegraph.com.

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbc ... qus_thread
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby random1 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:12 pm

And the hits just keep onnnnn coming........arghhhhhhh!!
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:31 pm

Well at least the town Manager seems to be looking for ways to save some money.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Speeder » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:34 am

Taxes stay the same, but less services are provided. Nice. I guess that's one way to balance the budget.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby WIZ » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:10 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:Well at least the town Manager seems to be looking for ways to save some money.


If this is true, then perhaps we should close the TS and go with town wide curbside pickup. This way, everyone in town benefits from the service that we ALL pay for, while currently, only about one-third of the town residents use the TS (mostly the folks who live in the north end of town).

I really think the logic is to give folks who do use the TS some incentive to recycle. Recycling will still be free.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Stan Heinrich » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:55 pm

All options should be considered.
Whether you have the town sell bags or stickers(tags) to put on bags it means an employee will be needed to sell the product.
Also an employee will have to "police" all the bags being thrown. On a Saturday that would be a nightmare.
Personally I do not want to buy some crummy bag from the town.
What happens if it rips when filling it? Are you out the price you paid for it?
Curbside pickup should also get another look too.
What is best for all who live here has to be considered.
Just my opinion.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby mglr536 » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:42 pm

Pay as you throw means you have a user fee for the amount of trash you put into the town's waste stream. Sounds fair to me. There are already workers at the TS that supposedly check for stickers...if it's pay as you throw, then that checker now works at the trash chute instead of the trailer. This makes sense if you're bringing trash by the bag to the TS, but curbside brings up a more complex issue....it would involve more than just single family residences.

Curbside would have to include all of those townhouse units that pay property taxes but are already serviced by private curbside in their association fees. Apartment complexes already have dumpsters as a part of their private removal, so would that mean they get new dumpsters from whoever gets contracted and the town now picks up their trash. Businesses like Dunkin Donuts would also get the luxury of the Town curbside for all their trash. Restaurants, hotels...how about them? Large corporations like GT Solar, A/B, Fidelity...

So, I use one bag of trash each week and if I decide to use the TS, i will pay the $3 per bag. But instead, I'll stick to my private hauler who sends me a Christmas card every December versus a tax bill.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby RBarnes » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:54 am

This is totally fair and something I've pushed for since day one, not to mention something the solid waste advisory committee suggested needed to be in place for the transfer station to work.

Currently 2/3s of this town pay for a service they don't want or use. Condo owners are charged twice, once for the condo dumpster then a 2nd time in their tax bill for the station they aren't using.

Personally I think charging for the stickers would make more sense then bags but bags are fairer as they help encouraging recycling and people who toss away twice as much stuff actually pay more instead of shifting the burden on a single elderly person who may only have one bag of trash every other week.

As for policing this, we already have a number of employees working the station. I've never been there when I haven't seen at least 3 employees. You always have someone at the front in the trailer. At least 1 person in the recycling building and usually two or more in the actual transfer station where the trash goes. There is usually that younger guy walking around sweeping up the trash that didn't make it in (usually because it's not bagged which this will prevent) and then someone driving the scoops inside the building. The young guy usually checks for stickers and I've seen him more then once stop people from tossing trash because they either didn't have a sticker or theirs was out of date. I don't see this change causing any additional labor since we're already policing.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby WIZ » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:18 pm

I like your logic here, Rick.

RBarnes said:
Currently 2/3s of this town pay for a service they don't want or use. Condo owners are charged twice, once for the condo dumpster then a 2nd time in their tax bill for the station they aren't using.



Let's take it another step; I don't have children, therefore I do not use the school system. Following your logic, why should I pay (and pay) for something that I have never used nor will I ever use? Why should the elderly of the community who have lived here a lifetime and paid taxes for 50 years and live on a fixed income today, continue to pay for something they don't use and can't really afford?

I have my own artesian well and septic system. I'm not billed for that because I don't use town water/sewage.

And I'm paying for the Transfer Station and I pay Waste Management to pickup my trash every week because the TS is across town for me and it just isn't cost effective for me to spend the time it would take for me to travel to the TS, wait in line on a Saturday and then travel home. Time is money.

So why am I foced to pay for certian services, schools, that I don't get any benefit from?
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Michael Thompson » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:03 pm

WIZ wrote:So why am I foced to pay for certian services, schools, that I don't get any benefit from?


You don't receive any benefit? If they weren't educated would there be a burden?

Disclaimer: I do not have children in the Merrimack School District
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Speeder » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:38 pm

Property taxes are by nature unfair. I don't have kids in the school system yet pay nearly $6500 in tax each year. The TS is probably the biggest benefit I get out of my money. The remainder of benefits I recieve is in the value of living in a better community with decent schools, parks, library, etc. Not exactly a tangible benefit, but I'm OK with that.

Everyone can single out one or more services provided by the Town that is "unfair" to them, since they don't happen to use it. For me it could be schools, for others it is apparently the TS, or the library. If people are so worried about only paying their fair share, make the TS and the Library both Pay-As-You-Use. Later we can add the schools to the list, and figure out how to make Police and Fire work the same way.

Saying there would be a burden for not educating our children is correct, but let's not forget that if the TS switches to those ridiculous bags, you'll see much more trash dumped along the side of roads and on vacant lots, which may not be a burden but directly affects the quality of our comunity.

Does anyone know what % of the Town operating budget the TS accounts for?
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby quiet » Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:21 am

So let's recap...

A few years ago the MMK residents were suckered into believing that a TS would be more cost effective than town-wide curbside collection with mandatory recycling, and those who didn't want to pay a private hauler could continue to haul their own at no extra cost. (Didn't we also hear that by pure coincidence some of the local private haulers had relatives on the town council?)

Now the next step to push more residents to use private haulers is being proposed. A suspicious person might think that sounds a bit fishy.

One question though... If pay as you throw results in 98%+ of the MMK households using private haulers, what impact will that have on recycling and the town budget?
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby RBarnes » Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:52 am

Speeder wrote:Does anyone know what % of the Town operating budget the TS accounts for?


in the 08-09 budget the transfer station was $1,531,322 out of a total budget of 22,172,379.

Our town library in comparison was only $1,268,011 and parks and rec was only $752,860.

So paying for the 1/3 of people who choose to dump trash here in the transfer station has a larger impact on the 2/3 of people who don't use it then most other town departments. In fact only Police, Fire, Highway and General Government lines are larger, and general government includes wages that wrap into other departments so it's actually a concatenation of different things. Even then General government is still only $200,000 more.

This change is going to benefit the haulers as well since it will most likely push more of the 1/3 currently not using their business to look into hiring one of them.

The only people who wont benefit are those who toss out a LOT of trash and currently have the rest of us paying for their garbage.

As for the argument about education, personally I would have no problem paying 100% of my children's education if I had 100% educational choice for them along with it. But as was pointed out here already there is benefit to making sure ALL children are educated.

What benefit does the 2/3 of town that doesn't use the station get for paying for the 1/3 who do? The piece of mind that the 1/3 wont turn to criminal acts of illegal garbage dumping? Heck, you may as well just put the gun in my face and rob me and the rest of people in this town for the money to hire a hauler since that's what this argument amounts to.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Michael Pelletier » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:24 pm

Michael Thompson wrote:
WIZ wrote:So why am I foced to pay for certian services, schools, that I don't get any benefit from?

You don't receive any benefit? If they weren't educated would there be a burden?

You're assuming that if the government didn't provide schools, children wouldn't get educated.

That's kind of like saying that if the government didn't provide grocery stores, people would starve to death.

And besides, I think I'd rather have an uneducated punk trying to mug me rather than an entire government apparatus dedicated to mugging me over and over again every year.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:11 pm

And besides, I think I'd rather have an uneducated punk trying to mug me rather than an entire government apparatus dedicated to mugging me over and over again every year.


Amen to that!
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