September 12, 2018Voters will be asked to approve another $400,000 for the recycling center facility, which is still expected to be everything town officials wanted from the facility for much less than originally proposed.
Work started on the new recycling facility, which was approved by voters at the 2017 town meeting voting. Richard Grenier, selectmen's representative to the Solid Waste Committee, said the new building is supposed to arrive by Oct. 30. All of the concrete is being poured and the retaining wall is being worked on.
Grenier said the project will come back to town meeting in March for another $400,000 to complete it, though it will still be $500,000 less than originally proposed.
The original cost of the project came in at $1.7 million, though members of the committee felt that was way too high. Lengthy debates went on about the project involving people who are experienced trash hauling and public works.
"We just felt it could be done cheaper," Grenier said.
Grenier said the cost included some redundancies for building material, though the town already had a lot of that material on hand and free for use like crushed concrete.
After much discussion the project cost was knocked down to $950,000, which received voter approval.
Grenier said the project only got one bidder, Meridien of Gilford. He said Meridien worked with the town to come up with the details of the project. After much cooperation and negotiation the cost came in $400,000 greater than what was voted.
Since there is no water on the site, they'll have to dig a well. Currently employees only have access to portable toilets. The new facility will give the employees a restroom with safety features like an eyewash station.
"We're still doing it $500,000 cheaper than the original $1.7 (million); we didn't sacrifice anything in our plans, the building is going to be the size we want," Grenier said.
He said with this additional funding they will still be getting everything they wanted and it will benefit the taxpayers for a long time.
The $400,000 for the project will be coming from fund balance and not taxation. Grenier said the town's fund balance is already over the recommended limits. If this article is approved, it would lower the balance and pay for the rest of the transfer station at the same time.
Grenier said when the committee was first formed he said he only wanted to improve a few things out at the recycling center. Town Administrator Scott Dunn, however, pushed to examine everything about recycling and waste disposal. This included the feasibility of door to door pickup to pay as you throw, which were deemed cost prohibitive. The end result was the recycling center plan.
Grenier said they didn't want the new transfer station to be sanitized and industrial, but a place where people can stop and chat while dropping off their trash and recyclables.
"We wanted it to be Gilford," Grenier said.
The new facility will take recyclables as well as household trash and demolition materials. Grenier said they might have a system where disposing of household trash will be free if recyclables are separated out.
Grenier said this facility will meet the town's needs, especially with the volatility of the recycling market.
"Whatever happens in the recycling industry we're ready," Grenier said. "Our building is adaptable; our equipment is adaptable. Whatever happens we can meet anything in the recycling business."