By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — A transfer station of their own is the hope of the town's Solid Waste Committee and the Board of Selectmen as they plan to put a $1 million warrant article before voters this spring.
According to Scott Dunn, the proposal is still being discussed by the Budget Committee, which doesn't necessarily object to the project but wants the selectmen to provide a breakdown of costs.
Gilford and Laconia have shared a transfer station since 1980s, when all states, including New Hampshire, began complying with the new mandates of the Federal Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972.
Around the same time, the Concord Regional Solid Waste Committee Recovery Center, or "co-op," was formed and the Laconia Transfer Station was opened on Meredith Center Road.
Gilford residents have been using the Laconia Transfer Station since its opening. Gilford is unique in that there is only a recycling center in town. To get their trash to Laconia, Gilford residents can either transport it themselves after buying a transfer station sticker at Town Hall or hire an independent contractor to pick up their garbage for them. There is a $5 minimum to go to the Laconia Transfer Station.
The benefit to town residents, said Dunn, is that if a transfer station is built at on the site of what is now the town's recycling center on Lily Pond Road, then Gilford residents would no longer have to travel with their trash to Laconia or to pay someone to take it to Laconia.
Dunn said there is no will on the part of the Solid Waste Committee to institute curbside pickup in Gilford.
As of 2015, the city of Laconia lets Gilford residents dispose of trash at $45 per ton. The actual cost is around $90 per ton, so Gilford taxpayers subsidize about 50 percent of the cost.
The city retains the first $5 of every load from Gilford residents for administrative costs. It used to retain the next $10 for repayment of a capital improvement bond, but the town's portion is now satisfied. The Solid Waste Committee members also said they do not believe single-stream recycling, which is what Laconia uses, is cost effective. They recommend a dual-stream recycling program which would separate corrugated cardboard from other recyclables.
Gilford voters attending the 2016 annual Town Meeting chose to pay $45,000 for an engineering study, and the result firm CMA Engineers of Manchester will be presented to the selectmen on Wednesday night. The Budget Committee will also meet with selectmen at 6 p.m. and many of its members will likely stay for the presentation.
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