On Tuesday night, the Town Treasurer will present a plan to significantly change how residents pay for use of the Transfer Station. The goal is to move towards mostly funding the trash and recycling station through taxes.
For years, the station has been funded by a close to even split between taxes and user fees. Over the past few years, selectmen have discussed changing the funding model. But there has been debate between members who favored having it fully tax funded with free access to all residents and others who opined it should be fully funded by those who use it.
The proposal next week would be a gradual change to almost fully tax funded operations. A $50 fee would remain to:
maintain the current registration system for obtaining a permit to ensure that residents of town are the only users of the system and to maintain enforcement.
If selectmen approve the proposal, permit fees would be gradually reduced from the current $250 permit fee over 3 years. In turn, most seniors would see an increase over two years from no fee access to paying $25. The plan would keep the current fee waiver for residents who meet hardship requirements.
The Public Works Superintendent’s memo states that the Public Works Planning Board unanimously endorsed the plan in August. Karen Galligan’s memo explains:
By doing this, the average annual cost for use of the station will be reduced from $265.29, a $250.00 permit and $15.29 being born in the tax rate, to $147.51, a $50 permit fee and $97.51 born in the tax rate. This represents a total reduction in the average family’s cost of using the transfer station of $1 17.78. Each permit would be good for a maximum of three cars, meaning the second and third permits in a household would be free.
The PWPB believes that building the costs of the transfer and recycling station into the tax base would generate financial relief for permit holders, give the town greater budget predictability and allow the Town to focus on the transfer station’s capital infrastructure over he next five years, which is badly in need of upgrades.
Another benefit that was discussed was eliminating the need for a separate recycling only permit
The discussion is posted on the agenda for this Tuesday night, November 19th in the Town House Hearing Room. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 pm.
Last spring, the Board of Selectmen indicated they wanted to tackle this issue Annual Town Meeting in March 2020. Although there is potential for selectmen to vote next week, this could also be just the start of a longer conversation this budget season.