GILFORD — Selectmen will ask voters at next year's Town Meeting to authorize spending $50,000 for a conceptual study of establishing a solid waste transfer station at the current recycling facility on Kimball Road. Solid waste has long been hauled to Laconia for disposal.
The action came at last night's meeting of selectmen following a report from Selectman Richard Grenier of the Solid Waste Committee on the committee's recommendations.
The committee includes Kevin Leandro, Kevin Roy, William Knightly, retired Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan and Grenier and was created earlier this year to review the options available to the town for its trash and recycling needs.
Grenier said that single stream recycling was not working and the town is paying $148 per ton for single stream recycling compared to $90 a ton for household trash.
He said that the committee believes the town should explore the option of a full transfer station for household trash with an eye to reducing the amount which goes to a landfill.
Grenier said that the New Hampshire Resource and Recovery Association has already taken a look at the Kimball Road site and said that the town would be starting with a clean slate and lots of room as the property is undeveloped. One possible barrier would be the fact that the site is locate atop a former stump dump.
He also noted that the site would have to have a scale installed for trucks and would require some sort of structure to keep recyclables from being exposed to the weather, as well as a baling machine.
Town Public Works Director Peter Norse said that the committee had produced a very good report and that pubic education would be an important element of making the transfer station work to the benefit of town.
Gilford is a member of the Concord Regional Solid Waste Resource Recovery Cooperative. The town partners with the city of Laconia in the use and management of the Laconia Transfer Station, which serves as the collecting point for trash bound for the cooperative's incinerator.
Grenier noted that the town's contract with Laconia expires in 2018 and the contact with Concord expires in 2019.
The committee was created in the wake of selectmen trying to nearly double the so-called tipping fees to town residents in 2013, who pushed back. Their fear was the private haulers would use the rate increase as an excuse to increase their rates and trash disposal would ultimately cost residents and taxpayers alike more in the long run.
In October of 2014 Selectmen raised the cost of tipping fees to Gilford haulers from $30 to $45 per ton with no objections. The idea of a committee was discussed again and formed officially in January of 2015.
Solid waste or garbage collection costs can be broken down into three-parts: the cost of getting the garbage to the Laconia Transfer Station, the cost of getting the garbage from Laconia to the incinerator in Penacook, and the cost of burning it.
In Gilford, individual residents bear the full expense of getting the garbage to Laconia. The town doesn't have a transfer station or curbside pickup and residents either take their garbage to the Laconia station or pay a private trash hauler to take it.
The costs of transporting the garbage to Penacook and disposing of it was $66.80 per ton and is called a tipping fee. This fee is projected to increase to about $70 for the calendar year 2015.
The town of Gilford pays the upfront costs to Laconia and a portion of the revenue collected from the sale of coupons to residents who haul their own or by haulers who pay by the ton to dump their loads is returned to the town.
The town disposes of about 5,000 tons of trash per year. For accounting purposes, the town budgets $350,000 annually as an expense and creates a revenue offset for the money returned to Gilford by Laconia once the fees are paid.
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