PAYT is not the way to go

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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:32 am

Eileen,

The MMK TS is akin to the dinosaurs created in Jurrasic Park. It was spawned by initial laziness on the part of one of your predecessors and latterly, a strong lobbying effort on the part of local haulers combined with a BOS unable to handle the issue (sans Dave MCray and Tony Holevas). It was sucessfully turned into a NIMBY issue by opposers of curbside but, as we've seen, it was never a NIMBY issue. It was and remains simply a business decision.

You by now I expect have listened to the stories about the trash wars. Forget tham all and just look where you are today. Simply look at the number of households in MMK and the tonnage delivered to your TS and the facts jump out at you. When your tipping fees increase next it would be less expensive for the town to close the TS and contract for the curbside collection of every current TS user. I don't know what else needs to be said. The counter argument that "we've already spent the money on building the TS" is ridiculous. What's conveniently forgotten is this: the money spent on the TS came from users of private CS back when the dump was in operation via an enterprise fund driven by tipping fees. Given no private CS vendors use the TS, those who funded the TS would have received more value by burning the $1.5M in their furnace in the form of BTU's than they have from it's erection and operation since. This is actually a true statement. I always viewed PAYT as a partial resolution to the funding inequity that exists, nothing more.

The TS was always going to fail. It is nothing more than a municipally subsidized market serving a select few number of residents and an imagined "freedom of choice", all at the expense of the majority. The blame for this lies not with the advocates on either side, it lies squarely at the feet of the administration for their lack of leadership. They were very good at naming streets and accepting donations to the Town from the Boy Scouts....not so good at much else.

Good luck Eileen.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby timothy dutton » Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:05 pm

One way or another disposing of trash is going to increase next year. A decision needs to be made by someone. Granted, decision may not be popular.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby RayWhipple » Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:21 pm

We talk about "fairness" when it comes to the TS -vs- Curbside. I for one like the idea of curbside. I have a couple questions though. Would we just close the TS as it is now and tell people they need to go choose a private firm or would the town hire a firm? If the town would hire a firm then how would it be paid for? Seems to me that it should only be paid for by those in town that elect to use the town curbside pickup and not those that contract with their own pickup firm. I would imagine it wouldn't be to hard to get a system in place for taxpayers that want to use the town service to pay the town for it and not mix it in with everyone's tax bill.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:16 pm

Eileen,

I forgot to bring focus on the group that probably holds the most responsibility for the mess.

There were several formal requests made by residents(myself included) to the Planning Board that it evaluate the site location as well as the landfill closure work being done at the time. I believe even the BC made such a request in an effort to fully understand the costs associated with the TS as part of its Budget vetting process but I could be wrong on that. In any case, not one request was granted, not one agenda contained any mention of the topic. In response the people living in the area were forced to shame the town into action by actually hiring a trailer of the kind used in the transfer of waste and film the various locations along the route where the trailer would by default of its dimensions enter into oncoming traffic as it negoitiated the roads. This video was then presented by Norman Phillips at a BC meeting that by chance :D was also being attended by the TM, DPW Director and PB Vice Chair. The SB Chairman was also in attendance and it was only his intervention after realizing school buses travel these same roads that resulted in flagmen being positioned to prevent schoolbus/20 ton trailer collisions. Nice huh?

While the PB didn't think the siting of an industrial enterprise within a residential zone worthy of one single moment of their attention during the 18 months the issue was debated, they did however find time to dedicate dozens of hours and at least one public hearing on....are you ready.....deciding how many new trees a developer should replace while building homes in a residential zone. It'd be comical were it not true.

The result is a facility servicing a fraction of your residential taxpayers, none of your business taxpayers and located on arguably the worst spot within the town from which to operate a terminal-type enterprise. The site location also makes it impossible to offload the thing to a major hauler (no access to Rte 3 N and Bedford cut off truck access via Gauge Girls years ago). And its only going to get worse. What's done is done. The only question that matters is......what to do next?
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby TonyRichardson » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:41 pm

What should be done next is stop throwing good money after bad and shut it down.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:18 am

TonyRichardson wrote:What should be done next is stop throwing good money after bad and shut it down.


I would agree with the exception there remains a need to handle hazmat, yard waste and bulky items. Until those functions are moved to their rightful location at the WWTF you need to keep LR open for those services.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby ggkrupp » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:06 pm

Interesting that a non-resident cares so much about crafting the new Merrimack solution to solid waste ... why do you care Fitzie?
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:54 pm

Gary

Mark (Fitzi) is obsessed with the transfer station as he used to live in close proximity. When the town decided to build the transfer station, Mark sold his home and moved to Nashua. He still remains obsessed even though I understand he made a decent profit on the sale of his home.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Norman Phillips » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:26 pm

Thank you for the background, Jeannine.
Mark still understands the ins and outs of Merrimack's SW issues better than any of us.
Sincerely, Norm Phillips
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Debra Huffman » Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:09 pm

Gary, if you didn't live here (or weren't involved in town issues) during the trash wars, then Mark's interest might seem odd. But those of us who remember can easily understand - Mark is looking for vindication. Mark, Rick B, Norm P, the Lorties, the Lawrences, and many others fought a good, hard, honest fight. They were defeated by what, in their eyes, was a campaign of half-truths. If the town now looks at the honest figures and decides to change our waste management strategy, then Mark and the others will have their position vindicated. They said from the beginning that this made no financial sense.

If they were right, then let's stop throwing good money after bad. Let's just do what makes the most financial sense now, regardless of what side we were on back then.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby ggkrupp » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:05 pm

Thanks for the explanation Debra and Jeanine.

No I was not here for the original trash wars but I have heard some of the stories anecdotally. I've also been frustrated since moving to Merrimack over the town's absolute refusal to collect and make public data which could be analyzed by all sides in this issue. We seem to have one policy idea follow the next without much consideration for real numbers. If that is Mark's beef, then I agree although just like we have to make our decision to go forward from this point, we also must ensure that the loudest voices in this debate are those taxpayers in town who will be saddled with paying for it.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby TonyRichardson » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:06 am

Fitzie wrote:
TonyRichardson wrote:What should be done next is stop throwing good money after bad and shut it down.


I would agree with the exception there remains a need to handle hazmat, yard waste and bulky items. Until those functions are moved to their rightful location at the WWTF you need to keep LR open for those services.


The RSA only requires provision of access, not the actual service.

Every one of these things can be contracted privately, either by the town or the individual.


We agree on nearly all of this Fitzie, but here is where we differ.

I want to see the town out of the trash handling business completely.....

Facilitator to 3rd party for the items you mentioned sure, but not dealing with it directly.

Every set of hands in a process adds cost, delay, and increased risk of problems.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Norman Phillips » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:16 am

Ray, you say you want the town out of the trash business. But it is presumably cheaper (per house) to have pickup at every house instead of every 5th or 6th house.

The awkward situations involve handicapped homeowners, where arrangements would be needed to assist the homeowner put the trash out by the street.
Sincerely, Norm Phillips
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Debra Huffman » Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:02 pm

ggkrupp wrote:I've also been frustrated since moving to Merrimack over the town's absolute refusal to collect and make public data which could be analyzed by all sides in this issue.

Ah. This is interesting and probably easily fixed. There was a ton of data available just a few years ago, and I bet it's still pretty relevant. Both SWAC1 and SWAC2 gathered and analyzed data, if I recall, and we all had ample access to it. Norm Phillips had a good analysis of the data, again just based on memory. (SWAC = Solid Waste Advisory Committee)

If the info isn't available through the town's web site any more, I bet it could easily be gotten. I'd start with a quick call to the Town Manager's office. If any TC members happen to be reading this, perhaps you could request that staff make the SWAC1 and 2 data available again?
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:20 pm

ggkrupp wrote:Interesting that a non-resident cares so much about crafting the new Merrimack solution to solid waste ... why do you care Fitzie?


Dear "Krupp",

I care about the issue because my interest in a topic is not limited by its direct impact on me at the moment. I can't comment on what motivates you or anyone else.....just me. Certainly my prior involvement plays a role in my interest, as does the friendships I developed with immediate neighbors, some of who remain there to this day.

And there's this other minor thing.....I was correct. :D If MMK had implemented the actions recommended in Minority Report you'd have a community receiving CS + CS recycling for about $1M less per year than is spent today plus have $1.5M in the bank. You also wouldn't have an albatross hanging around your neck as you try and figure out how to best deal with rising costs. The town had one and only one opportunity to leverage its waste volumes to their greatest advantage. Now you have to negotiate from a position of weakness......that was completely avoidable. I guess the business part of me finds that amazing no matter how much time passes or where I live.

If I was wrong its safe to say I'd be as mum on the issue as those who supported the building of the TS are today.

I dunno Krupp....You'd just have to say that my perspective or interest has not been tempered by the passage of time. Lemme turn your question around......why do you care.....why I care?
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