PAYT - A better Idea

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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby joeteacher73 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:41 am

The PAYT position that many are taking is not consistent from my point of view because the criteria for Pay for Use is not defined.

If you financially support trash removal with an À la carte model, the case could be made for other town services be migrated to a similar model. What is the criteria for one service being supported via property tax receipts (solely or partially) and another being funded (solely or partially) via some form of Pay for Use?

Trash removal is an essential service and as pointed out, the State of New Hampshire requires towns to provide for it. Education is another essential service and state law mandates the provision of this service in a similar manner. However, looking at the two services one could see why one who does not use the dump would not want to fully support the provision of that service. Likewise, a single person or anyone without children could see some contradiction in paying for a service they would never use. In both cases, society benefits for these so it seems that given that, the Pay for Use model is inconsistent.

This becomes less clear in other areas; one could make the case that citizens who don't use the library or parks should not be forced to support these fine services via their tax payments and instead, users of these entities should pay for their use.

The Town Council seems to have failed in informing citizenry as to the criteria of the services that are applicable for Pay for Use and what services support the general welfare of the citizens of Merrimack and should be supported as such.
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby Dennis King » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:22 pm

Ken Coleman wrote:Tim,

My point is that PAYT is a bad way to collect revenue, even if it is just from the users.

Ken


Ken you are quite right, if we want to go to a fee for service basis, fine by me, I will pay for my sticker which will save that $95,000.00 in "bag fee administration" plus the extra cost for "bag police". Trouble is, I do not want to pay for the senior center, MYA, library, and of course the 72% gorilla in the room, the schools! Yup sure would save a lot of money that way, pay for what you use, hmm, sounds "fair" to me. Condo owners send their kids to school on the backs of the homeowners who pay nearly twice the amount in taxes, is that fair?

This is all about forcing people to CS so they can appease the people on Lawrence road. Just look at the proponents to this, either they live/d there or they are liberal activists who love to make us bend to their will. Just look at NYC, can no longer smoke even outside, government determined portion sizes in restaurants, government limits on how much salt is allowed, trans-fats instead of lard and then trans-fats were bad (actually when they banned lard, they though all cholesterol was bad, now we know there is "good cholesterol" and bad cholesterol, the list is endless when the government feels it has the right to "FORCE" you to do what they feel is right.
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby joeteacher73 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:26 pm

Ken you are quite right, if we want to go to a fee for service basis, fine by me, I will pay for my sticker which will save that $95,000.00 in "bag fee administration" plus the extra cost for "bag police". Trouble is, I do not want to pay for the senior center, MYA, library, and of course the 72% gorilla in the room, the schools! Yup sure would save a lot of money that way, pay for what you use, hmm, sounds "fair" to me. Condo owners send their kids to school on the backs of the homeowners who pay nearly twice the amount in taxes, is that fair?


Dennis,

Your post hits the nail on the head. The Town Council needs to step up and tell us what town services qualify for Pay for Use. Why trash removal and not the senior center or the library?
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby RBarnes » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:03 pm

Dennis King wrote:Ken you are quite right, if we want to go to a fee for service basis, fine by me, I will pay for my sticker which will save that $95,000.00 in "bag fee administration" plus the extra cost for "bag police". Trouble is, I do not want to pay for the senior center, MYA, library, and of course the 72% gorilla in the room, the schools! Yup sure would save a lot of money that way, pay for what you use, hmm, sounds "fair" to me. Condo owners send their kids to school on the backs of the homeowners who pay nearly twice the amount in taxes, is that fair?


Dennis some of those services you listed have state and federal laws preventing fees for service.

The library for instance has laws against that. Its either paid for by the town equally or we don't have a library. And if you want to put up an article calling to close down the library then by all means go get the 25 signatures and put it up.

You're only other option there is to change state and federal laws.

So if we look at the real world on things we as a town have power over, trash is one of them. The MYA already has user fees, as do several other services in town. Trash does not and there is no law requiring us to pay for your trash.

You and a few others here continue to distract from the main argument bringing up other town departments and the school which have far different laws governing them. Since we can't go to a 100% pay per use system should we just give up and put EVERYTHING on the property taxes?

Why don't you explain to me what makes trash different then anything else you bring up?
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby joeteacher73 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:15 pm

Can you please point me to the (Fed/State) laws regarding libraries etc. I want to educate myself so I can make intelligent posts.

Found it.

Addendum

Section 202-A:4
202-A:4 Maintenance. – Any city or town having a public library shall annually raise and appropriate a sum of money sufficient to provide and maintain adequate public library service therein or to supplement funds otherwise provided.
Last edited by joeteacher73 on Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby RBarnes » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:24 pm

Pat M posted it in one of the library threads. RSA 202-A
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby Dennis King » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:08 pm

It does not surprise me that there are laws compelling us to provide a service and thus hire union people but we also have the choice Not to provide them and let private companies fill this void.
I am all for paying for a sticker to use the TS as long as everyone who visits a park pays an entry fee, every senior pays to attend the center, we close the library and let a private company supply that service, every kid in the MYA pays the full price to attend the program,. and of course, every student pays for their own tuition, once you do that, then it will be "fair" and I will be happy to pay for my sticker.
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby TonyRichardson » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:21 pm

Ken Coleman wrote:Tony posted,

I was against the TS before it was built, and my position has not changed.TonyRichardson



Me Too!

Ken


In this instance we differ on reasons, not on desired outcome on this issue Ken.
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby Wayne » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:42 pm

Ken Coleman wrote:Here is what I would propose:

Instead of PAYT, the town would charge once a year to get a sticker to use the Transfer station for residential customers. The amount (which could be paid when taxes are due) would cover JUST the amount needed to make the Transfer Station Break even.

Recycling WOULD be encouraged as with a break even only charge, the town could make it clear to the users that the more recycling done, the lower the sticker charges would be the next year for everyone.

One a year fee, No hassle getting bags or tags, Recycling encouraged, and only the users pay for the service. I think this would be a much better plan.


At first, I was going to ask you about those people that use the TS just a few times a year, when they clean out a garage or basement for example. They certainly will not want to pay a flat full-year fee to do that. Perhaps your plan could accommodate one-time visits somehow.

But a bigger issue clouds your idea. To make the TS revenue neutral, the $1.6 million to operate the TS divided among the ~3000 self-haulers would be around $500 per year for each self-hauler. I would pity the poor clerks at town hall who'd have to explain that to people coming in to pay their taxes! With PAYT, although arriving at a cost per bag will ultimately cost the self-hauler the same over a year's time, it may be more palatable because the user would have some control of the amount of trash he chooses to generate, and how efficiently he recycles.

Once residents are faced with the reality of what the TS is actually costing us all, I think your solution would bring about the end of the TS within one year. Since it seems inevitable that the TS will close someday anyway, maybe that would be all for the best.
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby Ken Coleman » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:21 pm

Wayne posted

But a bigger issue clouds your idea. To make the TS revenue neutral, the $1.6 million to operate the TS divided among the ~3000 self-haulers would be around $500 per year for each self-hauler.


Wayne, I understand your point, but the numbers you have here if real are a bigger problem. IF the cost of the waste that is generated by PAYT is 1.6 million and if there are only 3000 users, your math is correct and it also indicates a bigger problem. Are you sure the 1.6 million is not the total cost of the transfer station before income from recycling and also other cost which is not covered by PAYT (Such as construction material, brush etc)?

If the 1.6 million is only the cost of the trash covered by PAYT, here are the problems:

1. Almost right away, a lot of people faced with the cost will go to curbside. While in the long run this would be a good thing, in the short run it will further drive up the cost of operating the transfer station for those left. The only choice will be to keep raising the cost for the remaining users throughout the year or it station will still run a big deficit even with PAYT

2. People will start recycling items that really should not be to keep down the bag charge.

If this is really the cost we should just shut down the Transfer station right away. Could you please look at what is above and see if the 1.6 million is only the cost of the PAYT trash?

Ken
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby Wayne » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:31 pm

Ken,

I don't have access to the exact figures, but the TS cost that I see most often quoted is that $1.6 million figure, for example:
viewtopic.php?p=101422#p101422
It's not clear if that includes handling the construction and brush debris.

Despite the 4500 stickers distributed, past statistics indicate the regular self-hauler count is not much above 3000. I've got 3 stickers myself, and I only dump trash maybe twice a year.

I believe the revenue from the recycled material is minimal (I'm guessing no more than 50K?), but even break-even is better than paying the going tipping fee...which is apparently going up next year, so the more we do, the better off we certainly are.

I haven't heard how they have/will come up with PAYT bag prices that will cover the true cost of the TS. Maybe someone with inside info can confirm or disclaim my conjecture. I'm quite willing to stand corrected, but the numbers I see so far are quite disconcerting, and are sure to scare off at lot of self-haulers.
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Re: PAYT - A better Idea

Postby quickhippo » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:47 am

I don't see the bag fees ever covering the cost of the transfer station. As it is now there are too few people using it to make the $1 a bag fee work and the minute you implement that fee the number of self haulers will likely drop by half. And as you increase that bag fee over $1 its going to have a negative exponential effect on the number of remaining self haulers. These numbers just don't work as an argument to keep the transfer station open. Therefore if we are going to go with PAYT we may as well shut it down now and get a slight decrease in our taxes by eliminating the employees and overhead of running the station. People can use the reduction in taxes and the money they won't be spending on bags to help pay for a curbside service.
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