trash talk, where are we going in the future

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trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby Dennis King » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:10 pm

Ok guys, here is the place to talk trash. Like it or not, the tipping fees are going to go up in a year or two and then we will see a million or more in extra costs to remove our trash.

What to do? Well, let's get ahead of this now. I recommend we lease the TS (along with the operating license) to a large hauler who can use the TS in combination with other routes in has in southern NH. In exchange, they will provide town wide curbside. Now the TS should still be open to residents on Saturdays for construction and other large trash but that is about it as I expect they would not want residents in disrupting their operation during the week. I also see we may have shorter hours for the Saturdays, say 9 AM to 1 PM and this is all negotiable but since this is only yard waste, construction debris, and other large items, I do not see that as a real problem, it might even go to once a month but as long as we have some access and curbside, all should be fine. I do not like the idea of PAYT for curbside, I think we can mark the bag with organic matter apart from the recyclables (maybe stickers from town) but if we are buying bags from town, it opens the door for another fee (tax).

I see this as a warrant article for next year. We must research this but I am sure this will save us money in the long run. I also see a warrant article to close and rent out the library but that is for another thread.
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby tim dutton » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:56 pm

Are you suggesting that we lease out the transfer station to a trash company who will use the site to take in trash from other communities?
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby Fitzie » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:47 am

Dennis there are a number of factors that play into the viability of such a system that are outside the town's control. You'd have to be able to prove to a major hauler that the value of having rights to MMK's TS exceeds the cost of providing CS to the town......and by a lot (say 25% to take an average service profit margin). Other factors would include existing routes, competing TS tipping fees and existing contracts. I'm also not sure if the TS is sized correctly for such an enterprise. Lastly, and here's where people simply didn't get it 7 years ago, the siting is STUPID for an industrial enterprise. It would be difficult to identify a worse site in the entire town from which to run a commercial trucking enterprise. That I believe is going to be your biggest problem when trying to show this thing has value......it's something like 10 miles from the nearest entry to a highway and can only be accessed from the MMK side (cutting off access to markets on the Bedford side).

In the end it's all about final disposal costs and any major hauler able to service the entire town will likely own the ultimate landfill....that's the real power in the economics of this.

Dennis you obviously put some thought into this but I think you may be trying to force a solution that rescues (or brings value to) the TS.
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby Tim Tenhave » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:08 am

Hi Dennis,

In the other thread you state: "Finally, the single stream recycling income will go down and the great $788,000 you expected in income will evaporate before your eyes."

Why is this a problem? There is an aspect you did not catch or grasp.

- If more people with PAYT choose not to use the Transfer Station, that is not a problem and here is why. The largest cost associated with the Transfer Station is the cost to haul out the trash that is deposited at the transfer station and the cost to dispose of the trash. When the current contract expires in 2013, that second item is going to go up ~50%.

- So if the amount of trash goes down because people shift over to private curbside, the money needed to run the transfer station will go down. So if the money raised by the selling of bags go down and the costs associated with paying for the hauling and disposing of trash go down (less trash goes to the TS) it is a wash. Let me say it a gain, it is a wash!

- We only get into trouble with the cost of the TS when the there is so little trash coming to the TS that we have to then factor in the building and personel cost just to have the TS open. But, then the obvious comes into play and we close the TS except for maybe one day per week.

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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby RBarnes » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:15 am

Dennis, let's follow your logic here and say the town did lease the TS out to a private business.

Where is their revenue going to come from? Could it be they would charge customers to use it? That's PAYT the same thing you oppose when suggested by the town but yet here you are pushing for an option that would create HIGHER fees because they'd be driven by a for profit business.

You're logic just doesn't add up when it comes to the station Dennis.

On top of that where are you going to find a business willing to rent out a transfer station much smaller then other commercial facilities that's poorly located in the middle of a residential area and has only 1 access point since Bedford prevents trucking from their direction? Not to mention there are already far larger transfer stations located in near by towns (the ones all our local haulers choose to use).
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby Dennis King » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:18 am

Tim, the proposal to use the $788,000 as revenue in the budget is what I was addressing. People will self tax themselves by choice by using local haulers but the town will not see that money and while the volume of trash may go down, the staffing costs remain so if 2/3 choose a hauler (a tax increase to them mandated by the TC) then the "revenue" would drop to say 250K and maybe another 50K in savings to the town with reduced tipping fees so maybe $300K but not $788K. But that also means people who were using a town owned facility will have have to cough up say $600K to a private hauler so that in essence is a tax increase to them (comes from one pocket or the other). I did not factor the loss of recyclable revenue and the fact we have a contract for single stream recycling but if 2/3 of the people do not show up, this goes way down, we loose that revenue but still have to abide by the contract. This is a perfect example of how you need to study these issues and not issue proclamations demanding a new program go into effect in 3 months time, for a town of our size and for an issue this complicated, just no way it could be done but, Tim you are right to point out the staggering increase in tipping fees coming our way so now would be the time to study options and present them at next years deliberative session.

Rick, Lawrence Road was never my choice; Mast road made far more sense at the time, especially considering the fact that at that time, the circumferential highway exit 9 looked like a real possibility. I pushed for Mast road at the time but the curbsiders wanted all or nothing and I think that was why they lost, people like the option to throw away their trash for cost savings and for large projects around the home. The issue is now moot but we do have a resource and I would find it hard to believe that Bedford would close off Jenkins road to the TS. This does not make sense as this would have to be the best and safest route for our trucks to exit on their way to the Rochester land fill. Our most valuable asset is our license and this will only get more valuable in the future. Our TS is considerably larger than what our town needs, all you need to do is visit there and see the size of it compared to the trash. Now the deal may not be free in the end but perhaps we could get curbside for $3/week per home, no real way to tell but I am sure there will be a savings for the town.

On another point, the idea of using a private for profit company. Why does that mean a bad thing as it is implied. Of course they make a profit but our own town manager just saved over $100K by outsourcing, that means, these "for profit" companies will do the SAME WORK, for much less. This concept applies to all public workers as the town in Georgia can attest. Time we remove the noose around our neck and expand privatization, especially in the schools which take a whopping 72 percent of our taxes. Trouble is, these people have jobs with great pay, great benefits, great vacations, great pensions, and oh so few actual working days per year when compared with the rest of the world. Oh and one other thing, they get to vote themselves raises! Is it any wonder the state is a billion in debt and we are now forced to let go our safety officers just to get by.
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby tim dutton » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:53 am

Jenkins Rd belongs to Bedford. Why would they want 18 wheel trucks ruining there roads?

Trucks do not belong on Jekins Rd. Jekins Rd is very narrow.
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby lynn » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:38 pm

Bedford long ago banned Trucks from getting to the TS from their side
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby Dennis King » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:54 pm

If we ever get the North bound exits at exit 12, that would help considerably and I understand it is on the 10 year plan, just not sure how soon it would happen and with a billion over budget, if it will ever happen (think exit 9). I still think we should look into it, we may find the license is worthless if no company wants to use it in that location.

So many mistakes over the years, drives me crazy. If I could have turned back the clock, The houses at horseshoe pond would have become life estates and by now, a park the whole town could enjoy, we would own horse hill for the princely sum of a dollar, we would have north and south bound exits at exit 12 (we actually turned down the north exits, ughhh), we would have altered the flight path of planes over our town by joining the noise study, we would have greater access to the Merrimack River, we would have a park at Wasserman that is open to all of the town rather than pay millions to simply take over a private business that is duplicated by the YMCA only a short distance away and of course, our TS would be on Mast Road. Perchance to dream.

I hope the TC can look to the future and form a committee to investigate the possibilities. Dan Dwyer stated he had been researching this for the past 3 months so he should have some info to start with. The two prior SWAC's should have some input too. If they start now, they should have a choice of two for next years town meeting.
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby RBarnes » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:40 pm

Dennis, it really amazes me how hard you are working to show some value in what is clearly one more bad choice this town made.

Dennis King wrote:Our TS is considerably larger than what our town needs, all you need to do is visit there and see the size of it compared to the trash.


That's because it was built for the amount of traffic covering our whole town. Currently only about 1/3 of the town uses it. For a commercial entity to see value it would need to service more then just the size of Merrimack. For Merrimack to find a commercial business willing to take it over we'd be left subsiding their business and it would cost us more in the long run, not less.

Dennis King wrote:Now the deal may not be free in the end but perhaps we could get curbside for $3/week per home, no real way to tell but I am sure there will be a savings for the town.


We had that option a few years ago and because of lies about $1 million in savings we'd see from the revenue the haulers would bring in at the transfer station it was shot down in place of that million dollar plus facility that you are now spinning away attempting to justify.

We could have had curbside servicing the entire town, not just 1/3 of it, for the same price we pay for that station which as you said yourself is considerably empty compared to the amount of trash actually coming into it.

Dennis King wrote:On another point, the idea of using a private for profit company. Why does that mean a bad thing as it is implied. Of course they make a profit but our own town manager just saved over $100K by outsourcing, that means, these "for profit" companies will do the SAME WORK, for much less.


When you are talking government unions, yes you will see savings in outsourcing. If you want to outsource the employees at that station, by all means do it. But the station costs go far beyond the cost of the employees. The majority of the cost is associated with the trash itself and eventually getting it to the final resting spot, remember a transfer station is a middleman that "transfers" the trash somewhere else.

And just who do you think will use it? Unless the tipping fees are lower then other areas stations why would a hauler choose to pay more? And when you add up the costs to run a tiny faculty like this one compared to actual large commercial sized facilities equipped to handle massive amounts of trash necessary to drive down the cost it just wouldn't be possible to compete.
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby Fitzie » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:13 pm

Dennis King wrote:Tim, the proposal to use the $788,000 as revenue in the budget is what I was addressing. People will self tax themselves by choice by using local haulers but the town will not see that money and while the volume of trash may go down, the staffing costs remain so if 2/3 choose a hauler (a tax increase to them mandated by the TC) then the "revenue" would drop to say 250K and maybe another 50K in savings to the town with reduced tipping fees so maybe $300K but not $788K. But that also means people who were using a town owned facility will have have to cough up say $600K to a private hauler so that in essence is a tax increase to them (comes from one pocket or the other). I did not factor the loss of recyclable revenue and the fact we have a contract for single stream recycling but if 2/3 of the people do not show up, this goes way down, we loose that revenue but still have to abide by the contract. This is a perfect example of how you need to study these issues and not issue proclamations demanding a new program go into effect in 3 months time, for a town of our size and for an issue this complicated, just no way it could be done but, Tim you are right to point out the staggering increase in tipping fees coming our way so now would be the time to study options and present them at next years deliberative session.

Rick, Lawrence Road was never my choice; Mast road made far more sense at the time, especially considering the fact that at that time, the circumferential highway exit 9 looked like a real possibility. I pushed for Mast road at the time but the curbsiders wanted all or nothing and I think that was why they lost, people like the option to throw away their trash for cost savings and for large projects around the home. The issue is now moot but we do have a resource and I would find it hard to believe that Bedford would close off Jenkins road to the TS. This does not make sense as this would have to be the best and safest route for our trucks to exit on their way to the Rochester land fill. Our most valuable asset is our license and this will only get more valuable in the future. Our TS is considerably larger than what our town needs, all you need to do is visit there and see the size of it compared to the trash. Now the deal may not be free in the end but perhaps we could get curbside for $3/week per home, no real way to tell but I am sure there will be a savings for the town.

On another point, the idea of using a private for profit company. Why does that mean a bad thing as it is implied. Of course they make a profit but our own town manager just saved over $100K by outsourcing, that means, these "for profit" companies will do the SAME WORK, for much less. This concept applies to all public workers as the town in Georgia can attest. Time we remove the noose around our neck and expand privatization, especially in the schools which take a whopping 72 percent of our taxes. Trouble is, these people have jobs with great pay, great benefits, great vacations, great pensions, and oh so few actual working days per year when compared with the rest of the world. Oh and one other thing, they get to vote themselves raises! Is it any wonder the state is a billion in debt and we are now forced to let go our safety officers just to get by.


Excuse me, but I have to point some things out here.

First, if you go back to The Minority Opinion I wrote in 2001 during a 2 week vacation in York Maine you find the following recommendation: Curbside + Recycyling + leaving the existing site open for drop off on Saturdays. The reasons were: A) Existing waste disposal methods at the time of 2/3 CS, 1/3 self haul B) Given the forecasted tipping fees of any TS built, NO HAULERS WOULD USE IT and C) Lowest TOTAL economic costs. Not for nothing but.....I was right.

Dennis, you are either confused, uninformed or disingenuous in your comments relating to Mast Road. Mast Road had 2 issues, one being Bud and the other being Chesley, who didn't want to give up any land on his pet WWTF, even though there was more than enough. Bud wrote ONE letter and all the talk from the admin about how it was the correct site for the enterprise went away. There was a 2nd idea (later) to buy land elsewhere near exit 11 on DWH, but that was doomed from the start by the fact the funding for the purchase, well ummmmmmm... DIDN'T EXIST. Aside from that it was a great idea. :) You may recall this money was going to be essentially stolen from the WWT fund (or something like that) and that wasn't going to pass ANY sniff test. Not the BC and certainly not the State. But most of all for me as an individual, as TS ANYWHERE in MMK came in a distant 2nd to CS on every level. Equity? CS. Cost? CS Recycling? CS. This wasn't just my opinion, it was shared with me by the vast majority of DPW directors of towns similar in size to MMK who had recently gone through closure. I would be dishonest if I didn't also mention that the industrial site they chose (which they never shared with the SWAC2 by the way) was near an existing neighborhood. I simply could not do that and look my children in the eye at night. So I didn't.

As to your comments about turning back the clock and making different decisions, well it's not your fault. We're missing the point which was and remains the fact that the TM and DPW Director f'd this thing up for 5 years BEFORE closure by doing nothing and then spending the next two years trying to cover their tracks while looking for other jobs. This isn't your fault, my fault, Carr's fault, McCray's fault or anyone else's fault. It lies squarely on their shoulders. Period. To borrow a frequently used Norman-ism, you're left cleaning up after them much the way one has to when they have a new puppy.

Aside from that I have no srong opinions on the matter. :lol:
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby Wayne » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:28 pm

Dennis King wrote:If I could have turned back the clock, The houses at horseshoe pond would have become life estates and by now, a park the whole town could enjoy.

What's this all about?
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby Dennis King » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:21 pm

Wayne wrote:
Dennis King wrote:If I could have turned back the clock, The houses at horseshoe pond would have become life estates and by now, a park the whole town could enjoy.

What's this all about?

This one goes way back Wayne, say in the 20's or 30's after a major flood, there was only a few vacation cottages then and that was the time to move in with eminent domain, let the people stay in the homes with life estates and then in time, the whole island would become a town park, Now that would have been the perfect place, so if the fields were flooded, the worse we would have to do is replace some grass, and oh want a lovely natural place it would have been.

Mark to your point, I was a Mast Road supporter and could not understand why the BOS just abandoned the idea. I recall a letter from AB but nothing from Chelsea, not sure they were even in the picture back then but I am sure you are right on that. From my view, they folded like a house of cards when they should have gone to AB and discussed it further, I am sure it could have been resolved. I also recall the BOS felt the curbsiders were not in support of Mast Road so that also may have been why they let it go.

Millions of tax money was spent on the TS and for better or worse, we have to deal with what we have today, fighting the battles of yesterday and I told you so's just harden people to camps and we made that mistake last time, now we need to see what our options are. I have no idea if a company would be interested but Rick, I do not think that is a reason to not even try. I do not like the idea of PAYT with curbside and still do not get why everyone seems to insist this is the way to go since I know of no current CS provider that charges anyone with PAYT. If it works now, why do it in the future. Now if we need to separate the trash, that should be optionable not mandatory; I just hate the government telling us to do anything. I can see incentives, maybe a voucher each year given out by the truck drivers to the people who consistently separate their trash for the recyclables, you could take the money we earned each year in recyclables and then divided it by the number of vouchers and that is what you rebate to the taxpayers. Now it is extra work for the hauler but if done in October before the taxes are due, it should not be too much of a burden.

This is an issue which will not go away. I think we will have to go curbside with a one day a week TS. The big reason is the higher tipping rates and the current crisis we face in town government. Since 72 percent of the problem is our schools, we should spend at least as much time on that as we have on trash, think about the school budget, here we are arguing about $788K, they have millions that could be cut if only we had the courage to do so. Enough of the "its all for the children" mantra, if you bankrupt the parents, the children will be hurt too.
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby Fitzie » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:01 am

Mast Road fell apart because Bud didn't want it there. Here's the kicker...they sited odor concerns. Kinda funny given the trash would be taken away as opposed to the sludge (as in feces) they process and then let lay in the sun to compost. That odor isn't a problem for them though because they produce most of it and need the service. I don't blame them however, if I was their COO I would have written the same letter. I blame the BOS and Admin at the time who as you rightly stated folded like a house of cards.

As far as the money spent to build the TS it was my understanding it was not tax dollars but a fund which had built up over the years from tipping fees. I recall an inequity in that the money to build the TS was put there by taxpayers (via their CS haulers) yet NO private collectors would use the TS meaning those who funded it wouldn't see a dime of value. I could be mistaken it's been a long time. There was a fund and I'm pretty sure it had close to $1M in it, I just don't know how much of that went to capping the landfill vs how much went towards building the TS.

CORRECTION - after further thinking back I believe there were 2 funds, a closure fund and an enterprise fund. The closure fund WAS fund by all taxpayers but the enterprise fund was funded through tipping fees. I believe it was the enterprise fund that funded the TS, therefore the inequity I just mentioned was and remains in effect. From the viewpoint of those who funded the building of the TS they would have received more value if the money had been broken into 1 dollar bills, divy'd up to every household and BURNED as heating fuel. Literally.
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Re: trash talk, where are we going in the future

Postby RBarnes » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:25 am

Dennis, this is the trash thread. If you want to talk about Horseshoe pond take that over to the town topics :wink:

Dennis King wrote:Millions of tax money was spent on the TS and for better or worse, we have to deal with what we have today, fighting the battles of yesterday and I told you so's just harden people to camps and we made that mistake last time, now we need to see what our options are.


I find it pretty sad that we had to pick the option that including spending millions to build a facility to "see what our options are". Curbside would have required no capital outlay to try that option and if it didn't work out then we still had the option of falling back on building a transfer station.

Instead we took the more expensive root and now we're sitting around figuring out how to pay for this faculty that only is used by 1/3 of the town and is sitting empty many days of the week with a fully paid staff standing around.

Dennis King wrote:I have no idea if a company would be interested but Rick, I do not think that is a reason to not even try.


Dennis, what difference would there be between this and if the town just charged everyone $300 for the sticker they give out every year?

A for profit business isn't going to let people dump their trash there for free so either way it would end up costing you money to use it. Only you see to push for one and claim the other is a bad idea... example below...

Dennis King wrote:I do not like the idea of PAYT with curbside and still do not get why everyone seems to insist this is the way to go since I know of no current CS provider that charges anyone with PAYT.


Wrong Dennis. EVERY SINGLE CS provider uses PAYT. They CHARGE their customers. PAYT doesn't have to come in the form of blue bags, it can be a monthly or annual fee as well.

Nearly every for profit business in the world uses a form of Pay as you use their service in one way shape or form.

Dennis King wrote:I think we will have to go curbside with a one day a week TS.


That is exactly what option the town could have picked a few years ago and saved itself tons of money, it's too bad we had people fooled into believing that we'd see some million in savings with a transfer station and had to actually see the money wasted first hand before coming to this conclusion.

If you wanted to write up the article to push for this again I'd be the first one to stand out in the cold and help you collect the signatures.

Dennis King wrote:Since 72 percent of the problem is our schools, we should spend at least as much time on that as we have on trash, think about the school budget


This Tuesday is the 2nd budget review meeting of the bud com. By all means swing on down and listen to the discussion of the numbers.

Personally I would love to hear you or anyone else dig into the school budget and come up with specific lines they see problems with or find areas they can suggest better alternatives to.
One of the biggest problems with the school budget is that we don't have as much control over it as we do on the town budget because much of the school budget is mandated by state and federal laws.

Dennis King wrote:here we are arguing about $788K


Where exactly are you coming up with the number $788k? The transfer station budget (10-11 since 11-12 hasn't been voted on yet) is $1,212,662 and there are additional costs associated with the station buried into other parts of the budget (such as the costs of running the buildings in building and grounds).
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