Gilford plans to increase trash hauler tipping fees in effort to trim taxpayer subsidy

GILFORD — Selectmen will hold a public hearing on May 8 as part of a recommendation to raise the solid waste disposal tipping fees for companies serving town residents at the Laconia Transfer Station from $30 a ton to $90 a ton.
The move, which if passed by selectmen mirrors a similar action taken by the Laconia City Council last year, will reduce Gilford taxpayers' subsidy of private household waste and could save as much as $100,000 during the balance of the 2013 budget year.
Overall, Town Administrator Scott Dunn told selectmen Wednesday night that the annual savings is estimated to be about $210,000. He said $90 per ton tipping fee reflects the actual cost of getting rid of household trash through the Concord Regional Solid Waste Resource/Recovery Cooperative in Penacook.
In 2012, Dunn said the total cost of solid waste disposal in Gilford was $413,000 with $289,000 being subsidized through taxes. The balance of $124,000 is paid by transfer station users.
"In theory, people will pay more to their tax haulers and less in taxes," said Dunn. He also said yesterday a side benefit would be to encourage residents to recycle more household waste, further reducing the costs of solid waste pickup.
"Recycling is free," Dunn said.
Because there is no municipal curbside pickup or solid waste transfer station for town residents, Gilford is partnered with Laconia for trash disposal and transport to Penacook. Dunn said Gilford "owns" 30 percent of the capital infrastructure at the Laconia Transfer Station on Parade Road. The town decal includes access provisions to Laconia and there is no cost for the decal to Gilford residents.
After listening to Dunn's recommendation, selectmen said they were in favor of holding a public hearing and, at first blush, it makes sense to raise the fees on July 1 to better reflect the actual costs of trash disposal.
The public hearing is scheduled for the general meeting room in the Gilford Town Offices at 7 p.m.