Town Budget may trigger Transfer Station fee changes/hikes

by beth on February 9, 2018

Post image for Town Budget may trigger Transfer Station fee changes/hikes

Above: As one way of keeping the Town’s tax increase down, the Treasurer and Town Administrator are recommending hiking overall fees collected for Transfer Station use. That may include new fees for seniors, but whose fees would increase by how much is undetermined. (outdated photo by Beth Melo)

This year, Advisory members and Selectmen dove into the Town’s budget process earlier than usual. As framed by Town Administrator Mark Purple, we’re now learning how “ugly” the budget process is when you “pull back the curtains”.

One item that was highlighted in Tuesday night’s budget discussion is the potential for increased fees for Transfer Station users.

Town officials’ earlier involvement this year appears to be in reaction to conflicts over the budget between Advisory and Selectmen before last year’s Annual Town Meeting. An attempt to find consensus, led to tense negotiations and compromises after the Warrant was printed.

This year, Treasurer Brian Ballantine made a presentation to Selectmen in December. Advisory and Selectmen directed him to shave the budget, keeping the increase to 3.5%. Tuesday night, he reported that 3.5% is possible, but recommended a 3.9% version.

Ballantine presented that the lower budget would reduce the road maintenance budget by $115K (almost 28%) and require two furlough days for “non-represented” employees.

Selectmen didn’t vote, but indicated they were more supportive of the 3.9% version.

Those numbers are misleading if looked at alone. Later in the meeting, Advisory Chair Adrian Peters predicted that after changes and certain Town Meeting votes, the real increase could be 4.5% to 4.7%. He followed that at the end of the day the tax increase would be there no matter how officials present it.

Peters was partly referring to separate funding articles that aren’t covered by the budget. That includes $238K for Recreation*, $30K requested for the Senior Center, and Golf Course expenses not covered by a Community Preservation Article. (Look for more on those costs/articles in future posts.)

He was also including something he expects to work its way back into the budget, since it is politically sensitive. Both versions of the squeezed budget strip out expenses for the Transfer Station.

Purple told the board that unless they want to increase the budget, putting that back in would require cutting staff positions. Referring to selectmen’s support of hiring another police officer, the Town Admin said he wouldn’t be comfortable doing that while cutting other staff.

But, if selectmen don’t reverse that budget decision, Transfer Station funding costs would be fully borne by users. Increasing permit fees was a move that made some selectmen wary.

Ballantine couldn’t specify how customers would be impacted. But Peters pointed out that the difference between collected permit fees and what was taken out of the budget forecasts the increase. Based on Ballantine’s response, it looks like in the fees would be need to increase by over 30% in total.**

Ballantine said fee options included eliminating the early bird discounts, charging Seniors a small fee, and adding to regular fees. Kolenda indicated he would rather charge more to commercial vehicle owners than seniors.

The Chair said he would like to see Public Works Superintendent Karen Galligan present what she thinks is reasonable. For comparison, he would also like to hear what residents would pay if they contracted with a pickup service.

Selectman Brian Shifrin supported the change, pitching the station should be paid for by those who use it. In contrast, Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf asked to also find out what it would cost to have the station fully funded by taxes.

I knew that funding of the Transfer Station has been controversial for years. But I didn’t realize how far back the debate went until I stumbled across this post from Susan recapping an article from the 90s on a controversial fee hike. You can read that here.

The presented Budget is still in process with a few unresolved details (like a final budget from the Regional School Committee). Ballantine will be meeting with Advisory before coming back to selectmen. But Peters said Advisory will want to hear from Selectmen soon on their positions on the budget, Transfer Station, and separate funding articles.

*Recreation’s article will ask for more, but be bonded over 5 years. The $238K is the estimate for year one.

**Ballantine said that a little over $300k was collected this year. And his presentation indicated the costs pulled out of the budget are $110-140K.

Updated (2/9/18 9:03 am): Fixed a typo referring to Ballantine’s presentation as “Last night”.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SB Resident February 9, 2018 at 9:58 AM

A raise in the transfer station fee is simply a tax increase that won’t get reported in the actual tax increase numbers. A politicians favorite tax.

I love how Mr. Shifrin thinks the people who use things should be the ones who pay for it, but when it comes to recreation, he is happy to ask the town to fund all sorts of things only a handful of people use.

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2 Louise Barron February 9, 2018 at 8:30 PM

BOS really means BOARD OF SPENDING. No new transfer station increase. No salary increases. Try that. No new police. No renovated fields. Most of us don’t use them. It’s time this town started thinking about those who can’t afford these ridiculous expenditures. STOP spending. Cut the already limited hours of the Transfer station, therefore you’ll cut the labor cost.

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3 Al Hamilton February 10, 2018 at 8:33 AM

I think it is worth pointing out that for many Senior Citizens our local property tax will be the largest line item in their annual budget. Larger than other taxes, more than food or medicine, or heat. A 3.9% increase in the largest line item and another bump in the form of a “hidden” tax (transfer station fee) will be a material hardship on some of our residents.

I realize that the BOS and School Committees prefer spending to making difficult choices but they are in fact forcing difficult choices on some of our more vulnerable community members.

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4 Matthew February 11, 2018 at 9:02 PM

We could make up up all the money we need if the commercial dumpers paid their fair share. The fees are based on residential dumping of a few barrels a day. Contractors come in with their pick ups and dump significantly more than the average resident but they pay the same.
Stop picking on the elderly who probably throw out the least amount per person and get after the contractors who make their job waste our problem.

Commercial trash should really be banned from our facility but I would settle for them paying at least twice what a resident pays.

And where can we find out how much revenue has come in from fines at the dump? The cameras are supposed to be catching people and offenders get fined, but we never hear about that money…does it at least pay for the cameras?

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5 Jonas February 14, 2018 at 2:28 PM

This is 100% accurate. Why should a family of Four pay the same amount as a business owner who is dumping rugs, chairs, painting supplies, wood, and more. The reality is this setup will never be perfect. Some towns near us are limited to one single bag a week to put at their curb. I don’t want to go down that route, and have given up on the thought that the TS would open on a Sunday morning, but a good, well thought out start would be to implement a commercial rate.

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6 Townie February 12, 2018 at 11:19 AM

I think it’s time the DPW, Public Works Planning, and BOS really think about the future of the dump/waste removal. The rising cost to operate the dump is a red flag that everyone should be looking at. Currently the dump is split into two areas. The pit, and recycling.

The Pit: Where we can throw out anything our little heart desires as long as it’s in a trash bag. It’s compacted into a trailer then shipped out to a land fill, incinerator, who knows where. Probably the most environmentally unfriendly waste disposal known to man.

Recycling: Currently subtracted out to Harvey, correct me if I’m wrong. As well as the Metal pit, mattress dumpster, swap shops.

I know this community prides itself on saving land, being friendly to our environment, and thinking about future generations. I think it’s time the pit is closed down for good in favor of curbside.

I see tons of curbside pick up bins around town, it’s gaining in popularity due to the fact the homeowner doesn’t need to leave their house to dispose of waste. Just wheel the barrel out, come home from work, wheel it back in. No hassle, no wasted time out of their day. Making life less of a hassle is the most popular business right now. I also think this town has lost a lot of revenue to these private waste removal companies because of this. In addition, a vast majority of these companies bring the waste to sorting centers where our trash is being recycled for us. Does it get any better than that? I don’t have to leave home to get rid of trash and it’s being recycled at a sorting center which is a far small carbon foot print than burning/dumping it.

I think the pit should be closed for good. Old technology. Inefficient. (Trucks, trailers, staff, utilities, maintenance. I don’t even want to know the final number it takes to operate the pit per year.) Hire a private company to do curbside pickup for the community. Offer competitive fee’s to gain back the residents who have already gone to the curbside way of life. As for the dump, keep the metal pit, a place for matresses and large items, swap shops. Lower the price of the sticker to $100/yr (wild guess) for access to these areas. I believe this plan will lower the overal cost of operation at the DPW, bring back some revenue, and it will be great for the environment!

As for those who don’t want to see the bins one day a week on the roads verses being more environmentally friendly, You’re the problem.

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7 Alan February 12, 2018 at 2:24 PM

You couldn’t be more wrong. Our waste from the pit goes to a company called Wheelabrator in Millbury Ma and is used to make clean electric energy. They are held to strict government standards unlike a land fill and is currently the most modern and friendly way to dispose of our trash. By making us all go to a private hauler is when we loose all control over where our trash goes. If anything we should be encouraging people to use the pit for non-recyclables and pay for the TS 100% through taxes.

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8 Townie February 12, 2018 at 8:59 PM

Then I stand corrected! I thought it was sent to the land fill/incinerator still.

Sadly, I think curbside will still win weather the town does it or not. Today’s day in age it’s all about convenience. If we can’t win those people who have curbside back, then the price of the stickers are going to keep going to the point of forcing everyone to search for a cheaper option.

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9 M February 13, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Thank you Alan. You are correct.

Townie has so many misstatements in his/her comments. If he is not using the Transfer Station then he is not aware that you can NOT throw anything you please in the hopper. There are rules and requirements. One can be stopped from dumping, fined, or have their use rights permanently denied if they break these rules.

There are also more than two options, because there are hazardous materials that are collected as legally required in the state. The little cabin holds batteries and fluorescent bulbs which are not to be put in trash and must be separately disposed of from recycles. Where is Townie’s collection contractor picking those up? Do your fluorescent bulbs break when they get thrown in with your recycles?

Other areas include the Swap shop and Habitat barns. You can also dispose of mattresses which will not be picked up by donation agencies. Large metals will cost you if you want to have them picked up. When Townie speaks of convenience, our Transfer Station is a very convenient way to pass on these many items.

There is also the hazardous waste pick-up day that we are obligated to use. Does Townie know what is considered Hazardous? Does Townie participate in that or throw those materials in your bins?

Townie does not really understand that the environmentally sound system is the Transfer Station and recycling center. Those citizens who work to sort and properly dispose of all their trash are doing the most for the environment despite the fees they are charged for this responsible behavior.

Finally the fees that private contractors charge may just skyrocket once we are forced to use them and there will be no going back.

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10 Arborist February 12, 2018 at 4:18 PM

sure, dump the burden on the seniors who are just getting by now . If the town needs the money that bad why not sell the old fire station on southville rd. It’s a corner lot, I bet it could bring in BIG bucks. and then there wouldn’t have to be any cuts

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11 beth February 12, 2018 at 4:50 PM

Probably not as many bucks as you think.

Over a year ago, DPW head Karen Galligan estimated that replacing the storage they have there with a pre-fab building on the department’s main property would run $30-35,000. In contrast, the station’s assessed value was $359,000.

Meanwhile the Town Administrator wasn’t sure how viable the property is on the market. (Perhaps because of lack of septic due to issues at the site.)

I’m not saying it couldn’t get us something – just that you may be assuming a bigger payout than is likely.

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12 Townie February 12, 2018 at 9:03 PM

Isn’t Fayville Hall being listed with a failed title V? I was surprised when Fayville Hall was brought back to TM that Station 2 wasn’t. I agree with Arborist that it needs to be sold off. Heck, bulldoze it, re zone it residential. I’m sure some builder will pick it up. Big question though, is the barn part of that lot?

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13 Kelly Roney February 13, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Station 2 is already zoned Residence B, according to the Zoning Map (PDF).

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14 Kelly Roney February 13, 2018 at 4:22 PM

This seems to be the second fire station, currently just used for storage, I believe.

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15 arborist February 12, 2018 at 8:09 PM

Beth: you might be correct, but it’s not up to you or me to decide what the old fire station is worth, Let Mr. purple do his homework and find out for us, The house next door to it is on the market for $ 299K as we speak
The Fayville . Hall has septic issues too but the town is selling it, I say give it a try, It just may surprise all of us, anything is better than nothing.

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16 beth February 13, 2018 at 11:08 AM

As Townie refers to, the Town tried to get authority to sell the property in 2016. It was rejected by Town Meeting Voters. At the time it was bundled with Fayville Hall and people were concerned about preserving that property. Selectmen hoped voters would pass both, so they didn’t suggest amending the bylaw to remove Fayville Hall and just refer to the station.

I did wonder why it wasn’t included with Fayville Hall when that went back to voters (and passed) last April. I followed up with Town Administrator Mark Purple this morning. He said that they decided that the Town may have use for repurposing the land at some point.

And it’s not as though the property is unused. DPW uses it for storage. And, from what I recall, I believe it’s also where they are able to work on repairs for some vehicles under shelter.

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17 Frank Crowell February 12, 2018 at 8:32 PM

New dynamic will be at work this year. If I understand the new federal tax law, we can only deduct up to $10K of property taxes. My thinking is that a whole lot more people just got interested in how much their property taxes are going up. Maybe more will show up to TM and start asking some tough questions like: Do we need that new police station and why are we paying more per student than Hopkinton?

For once maybe a budget will be voted down and all town committees (yes, that means you school committees) have to get together in a room to hash out a reduced budget. It’s almost too much to ask. I hope I am not out of town for TM.

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18 Southviller February 12, 2018 at 10:29 PM

We’ve always opted out of the Transfer station, and instead use a private company with curbside pickup.

Easy, no nasty trash in our car, and more affordable – especially if you factor in gas. When we have nice clothes, books, toys, etc to donate, we use either the bin by Finn, or go to a great nonprofit like Project Just Because in Hopkinton. A much better thing to do than leave it up to the swap shop craziness.

The “town dump” model, in my opinion, will be obsolete in a few years, whether we like it or not.

Maybe Boston can win the Amazon HQ and they’ll set up drone pickup!

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19 M February 16, 2018 at 12:51 PM

Southviller,
See Kelly’s comments below regarding the cost of private companies. All well beyond the TS fee. What are you paying, if you don’t mind my asking? Have you ever paid to have a mattress or broken appliance picked up? Please add in these costs.
What are you doing with your hazardous waste, with your batteries and flluorescents? Are you taking returnables to the store instead of donating them to the bins which serve our town organizations? Or worse, just throwing in the private company’s recycle bin? You may not be as environmentally sound in your practices as those who use our TS.

Finally, You may not realize that the price you pay for your convenience is beyond the reach of some citizens. And I like knowing that items I put in the Swap Shop may be useful to other Southborough citizens, keeping my donations close to my hometown.

I’d like to think the town dump model will not be obsolete but will continue to evolve into a more and more sound environmental solution.

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20 Southviller February 20, 2018 at 12:42 PM

We pay $30/month, and split it with our neighbors, so our household pays $15/month and we never have to go off property. If we forget to put it out (rarely), they so nicely get out and grab it for us. We have also left a spare bag or flattened box by the dumpster and they’ll grab that too. Stand up job!

As I mentioned above, we place returnables either in a local bin, or donate to a local non-profit, or find a friend or family member who could use it.

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21 arborist February 13, 2018 at 10:43 AM

Townie: The barn next to the old fire station is on town land, I do believe the town leases the building and land to a club that restores old fire engines , but I haven’t seen any activity there in years, so I think it has been abandoned.

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22 Kelly Roney February 13, 2018 at 5:18 PM

It looks as though the barn is privately owned, although Assessors’ Map 3 appears to show it encroaching onto Station 2’s lot.

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23 M February 13, 2018 at 12:33 PM

I tire of hearing about the threats to the Transfer Station every time there is a budget. If the BOS wants to seriously change this option, then we need a complete separation of the Transfer Station as an operating unit and analysis of it’s true costs and benefits. The Public Works Department must separate or allocate proportionately the costs/use/depreciation etc of all equipment, utilities, labor and supply costs of this operation from all other Public Works units. All income related to the Transfer Station operations must be separate. All contracts that would be affected have to be considered and their timing before cancelling the Station.

Also, are all Southborough Town department using the facilities to dispose of their trash and recycle? If so, what will be the new costs on their budget to have this picked up weekly?

If citizens are forced to use private contractors, do we have any safeguards or laws in place to prevent exorbitant increased fees once we are hostage?

Finally, for those who don’t use the recreational facilities, I agree with previous commenter that it is unfair that one “town service” has a hefty fee and may go up again while other services are free. Equal treatment or a more thorough analysis is needed.

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24 Bob Murphy February 14, 2018 at 1:09 PM

Another option no one has mentioned: Why not take a page out of Framingham’s book and have the DPW collect the trash curbside? They have a brick and mortar facility where you can go, pay a small fee, and dispose of bulky items (mattresses, tvs, etc) but the week to week trash is picked up by the Town… Trash and recycling… and its included in your taxes

I have talked to numerous people from Framingham that love the system.

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25 Al Hamilton February 15, 2018 at 9:55 AM

Bob

Why not just get out of the trash collection business all together. There are already several private haulers that provide the service in town. A service provided by a competitive market will always be more efficient than a government provided service if you really calculate the costs properly (pensions, health care, depreciation of equip etc).

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26 Kelly Roney February 15, 2018 at 5:01 PM

“A service provided by a competitive market will always be more efficient than a government provided service” – This is an article of faith in conservative circles, not to mention most of the center. It’s baloney.

Some markets are structured to allow competition. Some are not.

For example, providing drinking water to households in nearly every locale is most efficiently done by a single entity, and public utilities are far less likely to rip off ratepayers than private monopolies, which usually appear to believe they’re entitled to rip us off.

Trash hauling is similarly a natural monopoly. Efficiencies derive from one truck per route picking up all the trash (if you really calculate the social costs of shared use of the commons – the roads, the air that oxygenates fuel in an engine, the greenhouse gases and other pollutants that come out the tailpipe – for one thing).

Sure, there are inefficiencies in the current system. We have to take our own trash to the dump, which is lots of car trips (via the common resources) and time wasted. But the efficient structure is curbside, not multiple private haulers.

If you don’t believe me, try to price private curbside in Southborough, which has had multiple private haulers, for less than $250 – or even $500 – per year. E.L. Harvey and Waste Management won’t tell you their rates without getting all your info first. If I recall correctly, Countryside was $60 per month in 2001, when I broke my leg and needed their help, and rose to $100 per month by 2012. (And they were great, but they sold to Waste Management.)

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27 Al Hamilton February 17, 2018 at 9:08 AM

Kelly

Natural Monopolies are characterized by extremely high capital costs and low (near 0) and ever declining marginal costs. This is not a characteristic of the trash hauling business. The presences of at least 3 private haulers in town (who to some extent compete with the transfer station) belies the idea that this is a natural monopoly. This is a competitive market place where the customer has at least 4 choices.

We use a private hauler and pay $59 per month or $708/year. This provides both trash and combined stream recycling. Compared to the “Pit” if you use it once a week and drive 6 miles round trip, the transport costs are 6 miles X $0.545/Mile (IRS rate) X 52 trips = $170. In addition, one must reasonably factor in the value of the 50 hours/year that are required to travel. So, even at the highly subsidized price the difference between the price of the inferior good (the pit) and the superior good (private curbside service) is close.

The public sector is just not accustomed to the relentless competitive pressure to improve their products and reduce their costs. Our DPW does not fear that if Westborough’s DPW does a superior job of road maintenance they will take over Southborough’s road maintenance for example. In every private business I ever worked for the relentless pressure from competitors drove us to improve our products and reduce our costs. If we did not we would soon find ourselves looking for a new job. That reality does not exist in the public sector. Please note, I am not knocking public sector workers or the sector in general, these are just “facts of life” from my perspective.

For the record, I am not a “conservative” my leanings are more libertarian. My contributions to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood for example mean that I don’t get Christmas cards from Mike Pence or Orin Hatch.

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28 M February 20, 2018 at 11:23 AM

My goodness Al,
I understand that you are a detail wonk,(which I appreciate whether or not I agree with you) but let’s be real.
1. Natural Monopolies can exist for many other reasons, such as scarcity of experienced labor as exists with small local businesses. They are not all high capital, etc. etc.
2. Public sector has different pressures, such as taxpayer review and control of their budget. They review cost saving measures in their industries and look for ways to improve efficiencies thru communications with other towns. In our small town, they are further scrutinized by personally knowing their neighbors. They DO have pride in their work.
3. For Southborough, this is also a bit of a community center. So much activity on a Saturday morning. (car washes, Scouts, politics, etc) Our TS does a great job of making that a very clean and pleasant area to do these activities.
Your views seem very Capitalistic, not so much libertarian but it doesn’t matter. You are missing the financial aspects of your choice in regards to your trash.

29 M February 20, 2018 at 12:02 PM

Al,
I will ask you the same things that I posed to Southviller above. Do your annual costs include expense to dispose of large items that a private hauler may not take or that you have to pay others to take, e.g. appliances, metal, mattresses, etc.?$ Do you account for your time in arranging for these other pick-ups? What do you do with your fluorescent bulbs and batteries and returnable bottle, and donations. Do you count the mileage to dispose of items such as returnable bottles and books and clothing donations in various locations?
As for the 6 mile roundtrip expense, this is getting absurd. Most of us combine our errands to head to the post office or go for coffee or head to a soccer game. And if you are going to factor in the value of your personal hours, well then I guess I just can’t win.

30 SouseBoro February 15, 2018 at 8:10 AM

OK, if we deliver our combined trash to a site that turns it into energy and sells it, and if WE separate and recycle our products and the company that picks it all up sells it, why the heck are we paying anyone anything?
Let’s not forget, when the transfer station was 1st proposed years ago for a, (at the time), a tidy sum, we were promised to “never, ever again pay for trash disposal”.

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31 Kelly Roney February 15, 2018 at 4:21 PM

None of those transactions cover their cost. Incineration costs less than landfill (probably), and recycling costs less than incineration (most of the time). Neither is profit-making.

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32 M February 16, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Hi “SouseBoro”!
I like your name. Clever.

The original Recyling Committee for the town had to struggle with the ways to promote recycling and set it up at the Transfer Station as there were so few buyers of the byproduct. The incineration contracts with Millbury were also dependent on a minimum load. All of these things have changed over the years. Now there is a glut of recyclables, for instance.
THIS is why I ask for a separate accounting of the Transfer Station to analyze its costs and benefits, as well as income, EVERY year, but certainly when it is discussed by our Town Committees in their budget process. We are always asked to pay increased fees without this knowledge. We are asked to consider eliminating this Town service without the knowledge. Would anyone agree to eliminating any other department, like say the Highway Department, in favor of a private contractor, without first having the costs and benefits analyzed? I doubt it.

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33 resident February 15, 2018 at 10:26 AM

Until people really start to make a fuss over the inflated charges for the TS (and everything else), this will continue. They will threaten us, overcharge us, and anything else you can think of. I don’t know what Framingham’s tax rate is, but I do know, they get a whole lot more services than we do for what we pay. That is overspending by our schools, town administrator and BOS. When will we, the people say it is enough and finally put a stop to it. Unless you speak up, you are part of the problem.

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34 Trixie February 17, 2018 at 9:51 AM

Now I am curious. I have been using the Transfer Station since Campbell was bought out (which was a long time ago). Can someone who uses curbside pickup post how much it costs? Also it looks like they don’t pick up recycling?

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35 sl February 20, 2018 at 5:37 PM

We use Mr. Trashman. We started with Countryside Rubbish, which was sold to Refuse Disposal in Framingham several years ago, which was then sold to Mr. Trashman last year. We pay $33/month for curbside pickup. And they certainly also pickup recycling as well. They offer at-your-door trash pickup as well for a higher fee but I don’t know what that fee is.

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36 Frank Crowell February 21, 2018 at 11:10 AM

That’s a great price. Nothing like a little competition and the free market to keep prices down and get great service.

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37 resident March 6, 2018 at 9:09 AM

I just started using Mr. Trashman too. I love the single stream recycling. The guys who pick up nicely put my bins back in an orderly fashion instead of throwing the to the side of the road like BFI used to. I think Mr. Trashman is well worth the cost of never having to go to the transfer station!

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38 saywhat February 19, 2018 at 7:13 PM

Let’s start charging by weight!

Those who generate the most non-recyclable trash simply pay more.

We’ll likely see the contractors and other heavy users of the TS find another town gullible enough to take their waste.

LET THE HOMEOWNERS OF SOUTHBOROUGH STOP SUBSIDIZING THE COMMERCIAL INTERESTS!

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39 M February 20, 2018 at 10:59 AM

Trixie,
Al Hamilton says he pays over $700 a year. Others have said at least $500. And these haulers do not recycle some items or take away large items that you could dispose of at the transfer station. Ignore his “transportation costs” because that is different for each of us.

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40 Sbororesident March 4, 2018 at 12:31 PM

What do I get for my $9K in taxes?
-Great school system (we don’t have kids)
-Good public safety network (on standby-we haven’t used them)
-Maintained public lands and recreational facilities (we don’t use them)
-Town water (we pay extra for that)
-Town sewer (NOPE)
-Town trash pickup (NOPE)

I whole-heartedly agree with “resident” about the overspending by the schools. Why aren’t the schools held accountable for their spending? Whenever they want more, they get it. Have them make do with what they have! Those of us without kids are paying as much into the schools as those with kids in the schools, at least when you consider the basic operation of the schools and not fee-related activities. If you want to make it a level playing field, have all those who don’t use the TS pay into it same as I do for the schools. Or, better yet, if I don’t contribute to the burden of the schools by having kids in them, reduce my tax burden to the schools! You can’t have it both ways!

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41 Al Hamilton March 5, 2018 at 11:56 AM

If you want to reduce your tax burden you and about 75 of your friends need to go to Town Meeting and vote no on budget line items. Those that are willing to increase the tax burden attend regularly. Don’t complain unless you are willing to go and vote no.

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42 Louise Barron March 5, 2018 at 8:21 PM

Attend the BOS meeting March 6 at 6:30. Let your voices be heard

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43 Donna McDaniel March 7, 2018 at 5:10 PM

Thoughts about trash and charging elders (like me)… Those of us in Southborough Meadows, the first of the over-55 developments, have a company’picking up weekly, including recyclables for those who take time/effort to separate, and so I doubt many would decide to buy a sticker in order to take it themselves.
As a committed (read: fanatic) recycler I do because it is sucha great place to see people I know and others to share enthusiasm for the “take it or leave it.” I have several small bookcases, dining room chairs, office supplies, and books for all of us plus toys for my grandchildren, chairs for my deck—all in fine shape and just what I need.
One of my favorite places in town! Highly recommended.

PS Worried about our town’s costs? Remember, we get $$$ from those recyclables.
There’s a great DPW video about where our recyclables go on their way to producing electricity or, in the case of plastics, on their way to getting scrunched and sent to
China..for income to us. Check with the Public Works office about getting in on a broadcast.

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44 Kelly Roney March 9, 2018 at 12:54 PM

Is the transfer station open? National Grid shows it in their outage map as having no power.

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45 beth March 9, 2018 at 1:55 PM

I called and got no answer. So, I tried the Town House where I got an outgoing message that the office is closed. So, I’m guessing they’re still closed today.

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46 Kelly Roney March 9, 2018 at 2:25 PM

Thanks, Beth.

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47 beth March 10, 2018 at 8:41 AM

Big error on my part. I forgot when I called the town offices that they close at noon on Friday. So with no tweets from the town that they were closed, lack of answer at the phone didn’t mean anything.

The town has issued some tweets, and none of them refer to the transfer station being closed.

As of this morning there doesn’t appear to be any power outage in that area. In fact, it seems 98.5% of town has had its power restored.

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