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Board gives go ahead to build transfer station

Hires Stewartstown Company to do site work

June 30, 2010
BETHLEHEM–After several contentious meetings, the Board of Selectmen voted to proceed with plans to build a new transfer station and chose a contractor to do it.

Monday night, right after announcing the resignation of Transfer Station Manager Eugene Grenza, the selectmen voted three to two to proceed with plans to build a new transfer station on Route 116. They then voted four to one to award the bid to Dennis Thompson of Northern New England Field Services, of Stewartstown.

The bid was around $136,000, town officials said.

Thompson was also the low bidder on the project to perform remedial work on the area behind the town garage.

Last week it was far from clear what the board was going to do. During last Monday night's meeting some selectmen said they weren't sure that the board had enough information to build the transfer station, despite the people having approved its construction and $99,000 for that purpose during March's town meeting vote.

Last Thursday representatives from transfer station in neighboring towns came to answer questions for the board about how much operating a transfer station would cost. Jackie King, of the Littleton Transfer Station, said the Littleton facility actually makes money selling recyclables and other items from the transfer station, though it is very labor intensive, requiring several staff members.

Though money can be had from selling recyclables, the town's plan is to have single stream recycling and pay $30 a ton to have it taken away, rather than money paid out from separate recyclables.

Selectman Mark Fiorentino said he was concerned that there was enough money to build the facility but not to operate it, though several residents noted that money currently slated for the temporary transfer station would transfer over to the permanent station to operate it.

Fiorentino said he didn't buy people's arguments that money brought into the facility would help it pay for itself.

He also said there wasn't a permit for building and operating the facility. There had been some confusion as to whether a separate operating permit was needed but it is not, he said. He had asserted that it would take 120 days to get a permit, but officials from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) said the same permit was needed and that it would take three weeks to get.

Several residents during Thursday's meeting got quite animated in their desire to see the new transfer station built. Resident John Seely was removed from the meeting by police after being ordered by acting chairman Mike Culver to leave the room for talking out of turn.

During Monday night's meeting several residents expressed concern that Fiorentino would remain as liaison to the transfer station despite the reservations he displayed during last week's meeting. Former selectman Jeanne Robillard said she was concerned about his commitment to see the transfer station built when he had expressed reservations about the cost of the project.

Board Chairman David Lovejoy said that was unfair to Fiorentino, as he had never seen him not give 100 percent to any board project.

"That's one of the biggest strengths things about democracy, people who lose support the majority once voting is done," Lovejoy said.

Varney Smith
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