Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Brian McCarthy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:28 am

First off - thank you for everyone that came out last night. We know there was overflow into the other building and conference room. I hope you heard what you wanted to hear be said (if you didn't end up coming and and speaking yourself).

The Council agreed last night that the PAYT would not be part of this budget and we'll be making those changes come Thursday evening. We are still attempting to keep the town tax rate the same - that is our goal, we may not make it.

I still need people to come up with creative ideas on communicating with residents.

Why were there so many people there last night? How did you hear about the meeting?

Email me at bmccarthy@merrimacknh.gov (or the entire council) with comments/suggestions.

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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby TomT » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:32 am

Brian, I can tell you why I wasn't there last night. By the time I got there it was already too crowded.

I heard about it through the papers, at the transfer station and from others in town.

Since I wasn't there I'm not clear on one thing. The Telegraph story seems to indicate that both the PAYT and the Single Stream recycling have been abandoned. Is this true?
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Brian McCarthy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:03 am

TomT wrote:Brian, I can tell you why I wasn't there last night. By the time I got there it was already too crowded.

I heard about it through the papers, at the transfer station and from others in town.

Since I wasn't there I'm not clear on one thing. The Telegraph story seems to indicate that both the PAYT and the Single Stream recycling have been abandoned. Is this true?


We are planning on keeping single stream on - but we will see what the numbers bring in. Because there will be a decrease in the amount we get for the recycled items, single stream is going to cost more.

Having said that - the incentive people were looking for to recycle - ... its right there -

WE GET PAID FOR RECYCLED MATERIAL !!!

You want to keep your taxes low - RECYCLE! Every little bit helps!

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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby RBarnes » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:41 am

Brian, I'm very disappointed with the board's choice to scrap even putting this to a town vote.

Here's the telegraph's article.
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbc ... /901279993

As I pointed out before, you guys advertised by handing fliers to the 1/3 of town using the station who currently have the other 2/3 pay their way... of course the testimonies you heard would be bias against wanting to pay the full cost.

Now we're talking about cutting "education incentives and the library" and look to layoff town employees... great!!!!!!! Well folks, I certainly don't want to hear complains about loss of services.

Here's an idea... why not let the PEOPLE have a say rather then shooting down the whole idea based on a group of voices that you should have known in advance would be bias in favor of pushing their debt onto the rest of the town.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Jimbo » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:16 am

Well, from what feedback I got on the street, selling logo bags was a bad idea to start. It seemed DOA before it ever got going, no?

They could have just used staff in the trailer at the transfer station to come out, count your bags and charge you x amount. The person is already there and being paid. Some folks suggested this as to just one common sense way. Killing this off and moving on to something else is a good idea when the jam packed room majority does not want it. The town would have voted the same way. :shock:
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby andysinnh » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:27 am

Personally, I'm not against a method of charging something for disposing of trash at the transfer station, as long as it's non unreasonable, and something that can be flexible enough to handle all types of disposal - size, shape, content, etc. It's easy for things like metal in the bins, pay for tires and other applicances, dump yard waste out back, and then recycling (single-stream is the best approach, IMHO). But I always had an issue with "pay for bags" considering when I go to the transfer station, the things I bring won't fit into a bag! Spending even a few minutes at the transfer station watching what gets thrown shows that a non-bag method needs to be considered. I think that a broader solution needs to be developed and put forth in a more proactive way, rather than snuggled down as part of the budgeting process. So not bringing this to a vote is smart, IMHO, since I'm pretty confident that in its present form it would have gotten voted down anyhow.

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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby RBarnes » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:32 am

I said when the idea first came up MONTHS ago that bags weren't the way to go, that instead charging for the sticker and have it expire every X months would be the best method. But rather then trying to look for the best option they shot it down.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby WIZ » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:43 am

Rick, I agree with you on this. This is something that really should go before the voters. I'm surprised with the TC decision to not go forward with PAYT. I also understand how the folks who use the TS feel. But I think that this would have brought us closer to curbside pickup for the entire town.

It's going to be interesting to see where they look for cost savings now. I can't wait to hear the TC member’s response to Malzone's recommendations for cutting costs. Last year they wouldn't let him cut the cost of paper-clips. Do you think they will favor a layoff of teachers, fireman and police? And Yakuboffs’ comment about a furlough rather than a layoff; these are town employees, not military personnel, Dave. There is no in the middle here, you are either employed or unemployed. I just hope they start at the top. This town is way too management heavy and at big salaries.

I doubt that the TC will get much sympathy from the Town Manager. He came up with a good (and fair) plan to save the town money (a lot of money) with the least impact on services.

I'm disappointed with the Councils decision not to go forward with PAYT. With TC elections for a few seats just around the corner, it’s going to be interesting to see how the Council comes up with cutting costs.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby andysinnh » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:57 am

There was an article on MSNBC's web site earlier today on furloughs being used in the current economic environment, and it's getting more commonplace than you'd think. For example, at HP we typically are told to take vacation for the week between christmas and new years - been that way for several years. This year, we were told to take the entire 2 weeks starting on Dec 22 until Monday Jan 5th. There were some company holidays in there, but if you didn't have any vacation or comp time, you didn't get paid for the other days. So furloughs are in use, and certainly have some merit to reduce costs while not necessarily cutting heads that are required to get the overall job done.

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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby mmoy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:58 am

Furloughs are being used in Massachusetts. They have much bigger budget problems there and MA will probably come up with a variety of interesting approaches to closing their budget gaps.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby TomT » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:08 pm

In all of my research I could not find even one municipality that enacted both Single Stream recycling and PAYT at the same time. Single Stream may not increase the income from recycling but it will decrease the cost of waste disposal. Every additional ton that is recycled saves us $60 in tipping fees. Single Stream would also save us any costs associated with maintenance on the can crusher and cardboard bailer and we might even be able to find someone who will pay us to take those pieces of equipment off our hands. The current bottleneck at the recycling center would be reduced because it would take no longer to dump recyclables than it does to dump trash into the transfer station.

The only "fair" way to handle solid waste disposal is to stop funding any solid waste disposal activites with tax money and fund the entire activity with user fees. If we don't do that there will always be somebody complaining that they are paying for something they are not using. We must actually treat it as a utility like water, telephone and electricity. Perhaps, as with telephone and electricity, the Town of Merrimack shouldn't even be involved.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby mmoy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:30 pm

"Perhaps, as with telephone and electricity, the Town of Merrimack shouldn't even be involved."

Trash is in a different class of service than most other municipal services because with other things, the resident gets something from the city or town. In the case of trash, the resident is getting rid of something. This creates the problem of illegal dumping which is most unlike utilities. And even utilities are regulated by the government.

Government should take care of things that others don't want to do privately (for most people). There are Federal tax incentives to do this and there may be efficiencies and scale factors for one large party to provide a service. It also balances out the costs for services between those with a lot and those with a little.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby Joel » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:57 pm

"The only "fair" way to handle solid waste disposal is to stop funding any solid waste disposal activites with tax money and fund the entire activity with user fees. If we don't do that there will always be somebody complaining that they are paying for something they are not using."

Amen! Refund a portion of the almost $7K I pay the town in taxes and I'll gladly PAYT. I basically get two tangible benefits from my taxes as I see it now: the transfer station and the roads plowed. I gladly pay for police and fire (I've never voted against a police or firefighter's contract nor against rebuilding the sorry firehouse in south Merrimack) but lots of other people have.

As I've said before, I don't mind paying a reasonable amount for your children's education but the warrent articles I see for education never seem to be voted down and town services do quite often.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby TomT » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:37 pm

FWIW, the information I found regarding communities that implemented PAYT and also had free recycling found themselves committing a lot of resources to keeping people from tossing non-recycle items in the recycle areas. Cost avoidance by "recycling" the non-recyclable items. There seems to be much more success with actively enforcing a policy of not allowing recyclable items to be tossed in the "trash."

In all cases, the most successful recycling programs are the simplest for the users. Most people know what plastic is, if you don't make them try to figure out what kind of plastic it is they will recycle it. Same with cans, paper, cardboard and pretty much any other recyclable material.
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Re: Pay to Throw Trash Plan Proposed

Postby RBarnes » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:07 pm

TomT wrote:Perhaps, as with telephone and electricity, the Town of Merrimack shouldn't even be involved.


I suggested this years ago and a select person at the time claimed there is an RSA requiring the town to provide trash service of some form. Well I read the RSA, it says the town must "provide access to", if we opened the market up to all the local haulers we'd have a free market with options to the towns people and we'd be meeting the requirement of the law by having access to a trash service.
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