GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the town and the city of Laconia outlining the status of an agreement regarding the Laconia (trash) Transfer Station.
The MOU puts on paper the financial agreement between the two communities and is effective July 1 or when the city of Laconia also approves it. It is also gives the town a solid point in time should it decide to leave the arrangement with the city and build it's own transfer station.
"This is a good starting point for winding down our relationship," said Town Administrator who worked with Laconia City Manager Scott Myers on the MOU.
Dunn said yesterday that no decisions have been made regarding the town building it's own transfer station but a Solid Waste Committee has been formed and is looking at the future of Gilford and its garbage. He said that the rubbish relationship between the two communities has been a good one.
However, he said, there is a sense among some people in Gilford that "the town should control its own destiny". He said that the committee is evaluating the recycling station property on Kimball Road for future use and says is is likely large enough to hold a transfer station.
Dunn said there was a stump dump there years ago but otherwise the property should be suitable if that's the direction the committee and the selectmen would like to go.
"It's a lengthy permitting process with restrictions from the old stump dump, but I think it's big enough," he said.
According to the MOU approved by selectmen, the city of Laconia retains the first $5 per load of all revenues collected from Gilford residents and commercial haulers, which pays for scale expenses that include staff, maintenance, future upgrades, and administrator services.
The next $10 per load from town residents and commercial haulers is retained by the city to pay for capital upgrades. Anything above this is returned to Gilford as revenue sharing.
According to Laconia Finance Director Donna Woodeman, the city took out a 10-year loan in fiscal year 2009 for $1,045,000 of capital upgrades. She said the bonds will be retired by fiscal year 2019 — or in three years. Gilford's portion of this, according to the MOU, is $377,862 plus interest and administrative fees totaling $54,091.
Gilford pays 31-percent of the disposal (tipping) fees due at the Concord Regional Solid Waste Resource Recovery Cooperative incinerator and or to Waste Management of New Hampshire and Laconia pays the 69-percent balance. The MOU states that these proportions could change by mutual agreement.
The MOU also states that the agreement can be terminated by either party with 180 days notice.
Dunn said it is too soon to tell if it is the will of the Solid Waste Committee and the Seletboard that the town build its own transfer station. He said the committee is talking about many rubbish related things, including the cost of transporting recyclables and the possibility of curb-side pickup.
Should building its own transfer station be the recommendation of Gilford's committee and the selectmen, Dunn said there would be a bond article on a future warrant to pay for it and the three-year time period left on the town's portion of the Laconia Transfer Station bond is about the amount of time it would take to get a bond approved and build a new facility.
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