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Bethlehem rejects NCES transfer station offer

December 23, 2009
BETHLEHEM—The town rejected an offer by North Country Environmental Services (NCES) to rent a transfer station to the town while a permanent facility is built.

During a Board of Selectmen meeting Monday, NCES Manager Kevin Roy approached the board regarding an offer he made Nov. 30 to rent the facility adjacent to NCES' Trudeau Road landfill for $2,720 per month. As part of the offer, NCES would also take over the Pay as You Throw program, including receiving the $3 per bag residents. Roy said this would offset his company's costs.

The board rejected the offer by a vote of four to one, with Selectman Richard Ubaldo going against the majority.

The transfer was one the town used until April, when NCES informed the board it would start charging for the use of the facility, at which point the board began putting plans into effect to build a permanent transfer site on town owned land on Route 116 near the Whitefield border. In the meanwhile, a temporary transfer station using several rented trucks has been set up at the town garage on the weekend.

Board Chair Jeanne Robillard said there were several reasons why the board thought it was a bad idea to use the facility again.

The first reason is that they have concerns about the longevity of the company itself. Robillard said that Roy submitted an affidavit to the Merrimack Superior Court earlier this year with an estimate of remaining time left in the landfill at the current rate of fill, which Roy said at the time was August 2010, she said.

Another reason is that Robillard read that Casella Waste Systems, of Rutland, Vt., of which NCES is a subsidiary, is planning on getting rid of non-productive assets such as transfer stations. She said the town could rent the facility under contract and have it pulled right out from under them.

"Approval seemed risky, they could sell it right tout from under us," Robillard said. "We could be doing business that might not exist much longer."

Roy agreed he did give the estimate of time remaining as August 2010, but that was before a recalculation called a grading was made of remaining space to fill. The estimate was an additional 147,000 tons of trash, which would extend the life of the facility until late 2012, he said

As for non-productive assets, the transfer station is adjacent to the landfill and likely would not be sold by itself, as that wouldn't make sense.

Roy said the offer was simply to give the town another option.

"Obviously they want that," Roy said.

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