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Tuftonboro to give haulers an incentive to encourage recycling

October 27, 2011
TUFTONBORO — Recycling revenues are up to around $66,000 so far this year at the Tuftonboro Transfer Station, according to manager Clay Gallagher. That's a 63 percent increase from last year's total of close to $29,000 at this time.

Gallagher told selectmen at their October 24 meeting that the potential is far greater than that, saying, "We could easily move that figure from $66,000 to $100,000 if everyone recycled."

In his opinion, "Residents that continue to throw recyclables into the compactors are just throwing tax dollars down the drain and costing everyone more money in taxes. For glass alone, we could easily double that amount of savings to around $8,000 if all the residents would simply bring their glass to the recycle center."

In one move to increase the amount of recycled commodities, such as glass, paper, plastic, aluminum, steel and tin, Gallagher proposed that the town charge the three or four commercial haulers who collect trash within Tuftonboro an annual disposal fee with a rate structure that would provide an incentive for them to bring in separated household waste. Not only would recycling revenues for the town go up, suggested Gallagher, but the costs of disposal would go down.

Haulers who chose to continue commingling trash would be charged $500 per calendar year; those who participated in the recycling effort would be charged just $100.

"It's a fairness issue," said Gallagher, who said that of around 2,500 residences in town, only 1,700 have purchased the stickers at $4 apiece and of those, around 300 of them are "doubles," meaning families that have more than one. He acknowledged that some of those residential parcels are just land.

"How many of the commercial haulers bring in trash from out of town?" inquired Fire Chief Adam Thompson, continuing, "Doesn't that take up room?"

Gallagher assured him, "We have never run out of space in the dumpster since I've been here," while admitting that a three-day weekend can create a temporary log jam. He attributed that in part to more recycling, which reduces the dumpster load.

Thompson asked how many haulers bring in trash from out of town, referring to at least one known to do so along with trash collected from his Tuftonboro route. Gallagher replied that the individual pays $125 per load, which more than pays for the tonnage and actually makes money for the town. He also comes during off hours. "It was an agreement made before I came here," said Gallagher.

With recycling mandated in all the surrounding towns, the time and travel costs for that hauler to go to Rochester make the arrangement worthwhile. Whether he will be offered an incentive to recycle is an open question.

Hauler Frank Tranchita said that if he chooses to do the $100 recycling option he would be "mandating to customers that they recycle."

"It's your business choice," responded Gallagher, " Either they can or you can."

Rich Pike, also a hauler, commented that the amount of revenue from stickers only amounts to around $3,000 and suggested that the town distribute stickers to everyone so Gallagher doesn't have "to fight about who is or is not a resident" and thus eliminate the fairness issue. Tranchita pointed out that residents already pay taxes.

Selectman Carolyn Sundquist added that the $4 per family sticker fee revenues, which according to administrative secretary Cathy Pounder actually might not cover the entire cost of the sticker, goes to the transfer station budget. "It's a user fee," stated selectman Dan Duffy. Moultonborough, in contrast, said Sundquist, charges residents a $20 fee.

At the end of the lengthy discussion, the board voted unanimously to establish Gallagher's suggested fee structure, to go into effect on January 1.

Gallagher said that he would be glad to find money in his budget to help the haulers set up their trucks to accommodate recycling.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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