It’s going to cost more to throw out your trash next year. Selectmen last night unanimously approved an increase in the cost of a transfer station sticker, from $110 to $140 annually.
The suggestion to increase the fee came from Selectman John Rooney as part of a scheduled annual review of transfer station rules and regulations. Rooney said he research towns of similar size and discovered Southborough’s rates were much lower.
“I’m not looking to extract as much as possible from each family, I’m just looking to bring us in line with other communities,” Rooney said.
DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan told Selectmen the transfer station operates at a deficit. She said the transfer station cost about $350K per year to run, significantly more if you factor in insurance and the cost of capital items. Last year the town took in about $240K from the sale of transfer station stickers.
Raising the cost of a sticker by $30 per year is expected to bring in an additional $63K in revenue annually.
Rooney said given the dismal fiscal outlook for the town, every little bit will help. “I’m trying to project ahead to where we’ll be next April. Perhaps some small steps along the way will help minimize the pain,” he said.
Selectman discussed whether they should charge for second stickers, which are currently provided at no cost, but ultimately decided against it. A third sticker will still cost you $50. Senior citizens will continue to receive their first two stickers at no cost.
Selectman Bill Boland was initially lukewarm on the idea of raising rates, but in the end voted with the other two selectmen to do so. “A lot of people look at this as you can’t tax me more, so you’re going to charge me more in fees,” he said. “I’m not a big proponent of raising fees at a time when people are struggling to pay their taxes.”
The last time transfer station fees were changed was in 2007. Prior to that point, the first sticker cost $100 and a second sticker cost $50.
Rooney said several of the towns that charge more than Southborough have transfer stations that are open fewer hours. Boxborough charges $100 for the first car and $50 for the second and is open only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Littleton charges as much as $300 per household and is open three days per week.
Southborough’s transfer station is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm each day.
“I know some people want us open longer hours,” Boland said. “But I believe four days at ten hours gives people the most opportunity.”