May 09, 2018OSSIPEE — Selectman Richard Morgan's idea to eliminate the fees charged at the town's transfer station is gaining traction, and he has heard from many who are in favor of the idea.
After an article highlighting his idea to eliminate the fees appeared in last week's Carroll County Independent, Morgan said he has been "shocked at the number of people" who have approached him, all favorably, about the idea.
Morgan wants to hear from more people as selectmen continue to gather information and decide what to do moving forward.
"I invite people to give comments, write it on a postcard, come see us, whatever," said Morgan.
One audience member suggested the board just raise the cost of a dump sticker and let folks bring whatever they want to the transfer station.
More has long been opposed to charging people a fee to dispose of items at the facility and said there is definitely a correlation between charging fees and the items found dumped on the side of the road including appliances, electronics, tires, and construction debris.
Anyone who grew up in Ossipee will remember, he said, the days when people burned what trash could be burned and buried the rest "in the back 40 where nature took its course." The purpose of a town facility, he pointed out, is for trash to be collectively disposed of in an environmentally correct way. And the transfer station should be, in his opinion, a service that property owners should expect to be paid for fully through taxation. He pointed out that when people call the fire department, the police department, or use the library they do not get a bill and using the transfer station should be no different.
There are a lot of costs involved in collecting the fees including scales that are expensive to maintain, especially given that the Ossipee scales have been struck twice by lightning. There used to be four full-time employees at the facility but when one retired a couple of years ago, the selectmen made the choice not to fill the position, saving about $70,000 in salary and benefits. Removing the burden of weighing vehicles and fee collection would allow the current three employees more time to focus on their many other responsibilities including increased recycling efforts.
Another audience member asked if Ossipee officials have put any effort into working with surrounding towns to increase income received from recycled items or ways to cut costs. That is not something that is happening yet, but the board appears willing to listen to suggestions.
Just as Ossipee looks for ways to not double-dip its taxpayers by charging fees and way to reduce staff workloads, at least one Effingham selectman wants his town to make people pay. Selectman Michael Cahalane told his board last week he has been looking into scale options and ways others town throughout the state handle the influx of and related costs of accepting bulky items and construction debris.
There is no clear policy in Effingham for the disposal of construction debris. One resident, Gary Dean, did some spring cleaning last month and brought his loaded pickup truck and trailer to the Effingham Transfer Station only to be turned away because there was not enough room in the dumpsters. He urged selectmen at their May 1 meeting to adopt a clear policy. In the past, other residents have been turned away and told to get a private dumpster while others have been allowed to dump.
The transfer station ordinance, revised last fall added additional fees for bulky items. The policy can be found on the Town's website at www.effinghamnh.net and does indicate that demolition debris can be brought to the facility. A transfer station employee that attended the meeting also asked selectmen to clarify the policy as often he is the one that bears the brunt of having to turn people away when the dumpsters are full.