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Swap shop vote delayed despite committee's assurances


June 20, 2019
TUFTONBORO — The Tuftonboro Swap Shop Ad Hoc Committee awaits approval of its plan to reopen the shop on July 1. Spokesman Phil Hunter outlined the group's organizational work so far at the June 10 Board of Selectmen's meeting with a number of volunteers filling the seats behind him.

Though the reception was generally positive, and two members spoke to the need for a timely decision in order to accomplish the preparations necessary to meet the deadline, the board tabled Selectman Bill Marcussen's motion to renew operations on July 1 (subject to proper procedures being in place), and postponed a vote on the motion until Monday, June 24.

It is the group's mission, said Hunter, to benefit the environment and the economy by reducing the waste stream. He brought copies of the rules and regulations, formatted by sign maker John Levesque and approved by transfer station manager Clay Gallagher, guiding what items can stay and which need to continue on to the Constuction & Debris (D&D) area or require a disposal fee, and described the group's research into the operation of other Swap Shops in the area, including Wolfeboro's.

The suggested hours of operation are three of the four days the transfer station is open, with a daily start and close a little later and earlier than the station's schedule. Hunter said in Wolfeboro, a volunteer is not always required to be on duty, but Chairman Chip Albee said a volunteer should always be at the shop, at least at the start of a reopening in order to get the operation off to a strong start, and said that the shop should be locked when it is not open.

The group checked with Primex, the town's insurance provider, and found that the Swap Shop would be included in the basic coverage. Volunteers will be clearly identified by safety vests.

There is one area of disagreement with Gallagher, said Hunter. That is the location. The committee wants the shop to return to the previous location; Gallagher wants it to be further away by the 30 yard container, citing safety and traffic concerns.

Hunter expressed concern that the Swap Shop would be "orphaned" at that distance. Albee suggested that the volunteers and board have a walk around on site.

The committee came up with the idea of having a "free stuff board" on which residents could let others know of working electronics in their possession that they were willing to give away rather than disposing of them. It is not the disposal fee that people are avoiding, but rather the waste of an item that works but is just no longer wanted.

Albee brought up the possibility of dealers coming in, to which Hunter responded that the "ultimate goal is to upcycle. If someone is cleaning out, that's good. We don't have to police that activity."

Marcussen concluded the discussion with a statement that the town has had a swap shop for a long time, and it is his belief that there should be a swap shop. He commented that the closure "created interest...It is incumbent on the selectmen to make this thing work. It worked for 20 years. It doesn't make sense that it doesn't work."

His motion for approval was tabled to be addressed at the June 24 selectmen's meeting. Hunter said the group would address outstanding issues, saying, "Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water."

Albee complimented the group for a "great job."

Garnett Hill
Martin Lord Osman
Penny Pitou
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