PAYT is not the way to go

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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:24 pm

Debra Huffman wrote:
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?


Debra,

If you're going to include anything from SWAC1 I think it only fair the Minority Opinion be included. :D
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:33 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote: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.


Really Jeannine?? wow.........

I hope I never reach the point in my life (where apparently you are) that I accept the unacceptable based on the amount of money I yield. You're entirely incorrect concerning my motives for leaving, I was always leaving and could have left at my convenience. What you should be asking is why I stayed as long as I did...........

Don't assume everyone has your unique moral compass Jeannine, you do them a great disservice.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby ggkrupp » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:53 pm

Fitzie wrote: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?


To the extent that you provide useful information to move the debate forward, I don't care. BUT the condescending "I told you Merrimack dummies ..." method you use to deliver the message does not help the debate. It only serves to create unproductive emotional strife. For those of us who were not around for the first debate, you are unnecessarily berating us for a decision we had no part in and for those who voted for the TS, your remarks presuppose they did so out of ignorance or bad faith simply because they didn't view the issue the way you did. I can't speak for others but as for me, I am interested in resolving the debate in a reasonable fashion with inputs from all of the stakeholders. An emotionally charged environment will keep valuable perspectives silent which would be a loss in my view. Is that fair?

I would be very interested in reading your Minority Report ... how can I get a copy?
Gary G. Krupp

America is a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy (thankfully) :-)
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:28 pm

ggkrupp wrote:
Fitzie wrote: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?


To the extent that you provide useful information to move the debate forward, I don't care. BUT the condescending "I told you Merrimack dummies ..." method you use to deliver the message does not help the debate. It only serves to create unproductive emotional strife. For those of us who were not around for the first debate, you are unnecessarily berating us for a decision we had no part in and for those who voted for the TS, your remarks presuppose they did so out of ignorance or bad faith simply because they didn't view the issue the way you did. I can't speak for others but as for me, I am interested in resolving the debate in a reasonable fashion with inputs from all of the stakeholders. An emotionally charged environment will keep valuable perspectives silent which would be a loss in my view. Is that fair?

I would be very interested in reading your Minority Report ... how can I get a copy?


My comments are targeted at those who willfully lied, deceived, or in the case of some elected officials ducked the issue at the expense of the people. My comments should not be taken as a blanket dig at the entire town. Its a great town full of great people in a great location. The tone is meant to alert new people such as yourself to what took place in the past so they aren't allowed to happen a 2nd time. I don't know how to politely describe what took place......I just don't have that skill set. As an recent example, how would you respond to Jeannine's implication that my dissatisfaction with the result should be tempered by the amount of money I made on my house? Is there a "nice" way to respond to that drivel? Bottom line....there's a small but vocal component willing to demonize anyone or anything that threatens their personal view of what it means to "Live Free or Die"......and will happily condemn a majority of residents to the latter in the effort.

I applaud your desire to keep emotion out of the debate but my experience is it will undoubtedly end up emotionally charged. Send me a PM with an email address and I'll send you the Minority Opinion. The town should also have a copy.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:39 pm

Debra Huffman wrote: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.


Sorry Deb, I hadn't seen this until now. I can't speak for anyone else but I never wanted "vindication". Vindication is usually only sought by those unsure of their previous position. I'm sure.

I take no issue with those in the private sector who tailored the numbers to their advantage. That's fair enough and I have no doubt I did as well...and more than once. What needs to be remembered and avoided at all costs is the administration's handling of the issue from day one. It went from an effort to dismiss any TS alternatives because they hadn't done their jobs to a coordinated effort to mislead and confuse the public because what was being presented as an alternative shone a bright light on their previous lack of effort. There was only one BOS member to acknowledge his previous lack of effort and willingness to explore new options....Tony Holevas. The rest looked at their shoes and hoped we'd go away before the next election cycle. The PB meanwhile refused to get involved in what was up until that time THE most critical siting in the town for the last 30 years and would have repercussions for the next 30.

These are the issues Debra that people who weren't here at the time need to be aware of.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Norman Phillips » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:41 pm

Years ago, I promised myself that I would not get involved again in municipal trash, but the atmosphere seems to have changed slightly. My best production at that time was an analysis of how much it would cost a family to either have town-wide curbside pickup contracted by the town or to use a local hauler with a town-run transfer station. It was of course based on the costs as they existed in that year (2002 ??)
The citizen had to know two numbers----1) what he/she was paying his/her local hauler for one year, and 2) how much his/her house was assessed at. ( The latter would determine his tax contribution for curbside pickup that was organized and paid for by the town. ) The cost for curbside was based on a letter from Waste Management.

It turned out that the only circumstances where curbside would be more expensive was for a home owner whose property was at the extreme high end ( because they would pay more taxes ).

For the typical house with assessed value of $200,000 and a local hauler typically charging $250/year, the local hauler charges would increase to $376/year while the townwide curbside would only cost that typical house owner $174 /year.

All dollar values would change for the current year of course, nine or so years later.
Sincerely, Norm Phillips
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Brian McCarthy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:08 pm

Thanks Norm.

Getting people to see through this may be an issue where the 'live free or die' moto comes into play. If the Town provides curbside, they their choices go away. Well, I guess its not that their choice gets taken away, its that they now, if they choose private curbside, they are paying, through Taxes, for a service they do not use. Now lets start the entire debate over paying for schools when you have not children in school, or a fire department when I don't have any fires, or police and I don't have police coming to my door.....

Every once in a while, the air is fresher on the other side of that table :-)
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:05 pm

Brian McCarthy wrote:Thanks Norm.

Getting people to see through this may be an issue where the 'live free or die' moto comes into play. If the Town provides curbside, they their choices go away. Well, I guess its not that their choice gets taken away, its that they now, if they choose private curbside, they are paying, through Taxes, for a service they do not use. Now lets start the entire debate over paying for schools when you have not children in school, or a fire department when I don't have any fires, or police and I don't have police coming to my door.....

Every once in a while, the air is fresher on the other side of that table :-)


I can see some merit in the school comparison but none when it comes to police or fire. Those two are things you pay for in advance of needing them....or else when you need them they won't be there or get there too late. Take the fire department for example. The alternative to funding it in advance is a PAYB (Burn) program...........and that air won't be very fresh.

I also think its likely the value most people who don't have private CS and transport their own waste to the TS lies in the fact its FREE. If true (and I suspect it is) its really not about choice, its about it being FREE. Take that away (as in PAYT) and only those enamored of their vehicles or the sweet sticky aroma of rotting organic matter will see any value in that "choice". The reason there was so much venom by TS users towards PAYT is easy....it would and will kill the enterprise entirely by exposing its inability to function without being subsidized by the taxpayers (majority) who do not use it.

The use of "choice" as an argument has no merit when one choice is free and the other costs a person money. The TS as it is being operated at the moment is a municipally subsidized closed market allowing a minority of residents reduced costs at the expense of the majority. As far as the school analogy is concerned, whether or not schools should be viewed in the same light as trash can only be answered by the individual.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby TonyRichardson » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:35 pm

It isn't FREE though, thats the problem.

It is funded through taxes, and it only FREE to those people not paying property taxes.
Naturally that group does not want the current system changed at all, because hey they might actually have to pay for something they use.

TANSTAAFL is as true here as anywhere else.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:41 am

TonyRichardson wrote:It isn't FREE though, thats the problem.

It is funded through taxes, and it only FREE to those people not paying property taxes.
Naturally that group does not want the current system changed at all, because hey they might actually have to pay for something they use.

TANSTAAFL is as true here as anywhere else.


You're correct Tony, I should have qualified my use of the term "FREE".

All residences and businesses pay property taxes and therefore pay for the operation of the TS. That said, when one measures the contribution to the general taxes of those using the TS against those who do not the discrepancy is such that the term "FREE" isn't that far off. My bet is that the tax contribution of homes with private CS + businesses outpaces homes using the TS for regular trash delivery by a ratio of 9:1, maybe more. If true that's a subsidy of 90%.....pretty damn close to FREE.

Regarding your comment on those people not paying property taxes my expectation is the vast majority of them live in apartment or condo settings and therefore have private collection by default. Just a guess......
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby TonyRichardson » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:07 pm

People that rent don't pay property taxes directly, that's true.

However, in their case the cost is subsumed into the "overhead" cost the landlord factors into the rent detemination.
Whether it is individual curbside or group dumpsters depends on the property.

In any case, for rental property it affects the landlord directly rather than the renter.
I'm not a landlord, but I would expect they are able to negotiate a group rate for their complex and therefore a better rate if looked at on an individual user basis.

Fitzie,

I agree that the group that uses the TS exclusively for their waste needs likely represents a minority of the town, but I don't think anyone will ever be able to get good hard numbers about how large or small a group that is.

And in any case I do not like being forced to pay for an incomplete service like the TS. I still have to either take the waste there myself or pay someone else to haul it off.

I am not a fan of paying twice for the one service.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby bobandgeri » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:15 pm

TonyRichardson wrote:I agree that the group that uses the TS exclusively for their waste needs likely represents a minority of the town, but I don't think anyone will ever be able to get good hard numbers about how large or small a group that is.


And that is the problem - nobody seems to want to know the actual number of unique households that use the TS as their primary means of disposing of trash. Seems to be a pretty easy number to determine. Bring in an outside survey company and survery each household, or record TS stickers for a 2 week period and match them against the household they belong too. Each household gets recorded only once regardless of how many trips they make, or how many stickers belong to vehicles at that household.

One way to encourage more to use the TS & RC would be to change the hours that it is open so that people that work outside of the town might have a chance to use it after work. It should be open to at least 8 PM. And should be open on Sundays as well! Guessing that the majority of the town works outside of the town and cannot make a run to the TX during normal working hours. Currently they are left with giving up part of their Saturday, or paying for somebody else to take their trash away. $35 a month to a private hauler is well worth it to not have to give up our Saturdays. When towns 1/10 the size of Merrimack can provide curbside trash pickup, why are we back in the dark ages?
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby TonyRichardson » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:44 am

bobandgeri wrote:
TonyRichardson wrote:I agree that the group that uses the TS exclusively for their waste needs likely represents a minority of the town, but I don't think anyone will ever be able to get good hard numbers about how large or small a group that is.


And that is the problem - nobody seems to want to know the actual number of unique households that use the TS as their primary means of disposing of trash. Seems to be a pretty easy number to determine. Bring in an outside survey company and survery each household, or record TS stickers for a 2 week period and match them against the household they belong too. Each household gets recorded only once regardless of how many trips they make, or how many stickers belong to vehicles at that household.

One way to encourage more to use the TS & RC would be to change the hours that it is open so that people that work outside of the town might have a chance to use it after work. It should be open to at least 8 PM. And should be open on Sundays as well! Guessing that the majority of the town works outside of the town and cannot make a run to the TX during normal working hours. Currently they are left with giving up part of their Saturday, or paying for somebody else to take their trash away. $35 a month to a private hauler is well worth it to not have to give up our Saturdays. When towns 1/10 the size of Merrimack can provide curbside trash pickup, why are we back in the dark ages?


I do want to see hard numbers but I don't believe it is possible to get them for several reasons, and one straightforward reason.

How do you find out if all the households that show up at the TS during the survey also use an outside hauler or not?

That is why I keep pointing out that the numbers won't be accurate.

In ten years we have used the TS exactly once, I pay a private hauler for my normal needs.
If I had come through the TS during a survey I would be counted as a regular TS user which would be wildly inaccurate.
We still buy the sticker year-to-year in case we wind up needing to take something there, so that we can use the place since we are one of the property owners paying for it.

I am comfortable with stating without fear of contradiction that I am not the only household in town that uses the TS only rarely or not at all.

In fact, my neighbors do the same thing, private hauler week to week, TS if they have to.
Or several neighbors get together and send one vehicle with several households' stuff.

For myself and others like me the TS is NOT my primary means of handling waste.
I know as a fact my hauler does not go there, I asked him.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby Fitzie » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:59 am

Regarding the numbers......

While its true EXACT numbers are impossible its also true that EXACT numbers aren't required. Exact VOLUMES are required, nothing more. This is especially true in MMK's case if what I've read about there being no commercial use of the TS.

Every single municipal and private enterprise in the waste market base their operation on an assumption in terms of how much waste a HH generates. Its the only option when you think of it. I forget the average number NHDES uses but I do seem to recall that all the studies were within 5% of one another and took into account the recycling rates.

Simply take the yearly tonnage of MSW MMK transported over the last 5 years, divide it by the average yearly HH generation number and you'll know within reason how many HH are using the TS. Forget traffic counts and forget stickers, they're meaningless. Volume / average HH generation = the answer.
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Re: PAYT is not the way to go

Postby TonyRichardson » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:45 pm

Hard numbers are needed.

Estimating based on total tonnage is an estimate based upon assumptions that may or may not have any bearing on the reality of who and how the TS is used.


The TS is funded through taxes, the root question is are we getting our money's worth?

How many tons of trash are moved through there are totally irrelevant to whether or not it is worth the cost to those of us paying for it.
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