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The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Why does trash collection cost Hampstead only $234,000, while it costs Atkinson over $550,000?

from the Eagle Tribune;

Hampstead may opt for pay-as-you-throw trash system
By Margo Sullivan

HAMPSTEAD — Faced with rising costs, Hampstead is considering charging residents by the bag to get rid of their trash.

About 45 New Hampshire cities and towns — Concord being the most recent — have adopted the system, which is designed to cut down on the amount of trash and encourage recycling, according to Donald Maurer, solid waste technical assistance supervisor with the state Department of Environmental Services.

Hampstead's Solid Waste Committee has been studying pay-as-you-throw as a possible solution to the town's long-term trash problem, Selectman Priscilla Lindquist said. Hampstead pays Waste Management for curbside pickup and to cart trash to the Rochester transfer station.

Trash collection costs Hampstead $78.20 a ton, according to Tina Harrington in the selectmen's office. The town disposes of roughly 3,000 tons of trash every year, bringing the annual cost to around $234,600.

At the same time, Hampstead's recycling rate is between 17 percent and 20 percent, she said, so the selectmen want to find a way to boost recycling.

The recycling average for New Hampshire municipalities is 20 percent to 21 percent, Maurer said. That's poor, he added.

Improving the recycling rate by just 1 percent can save a community a significant amount of money, he said.

Trash hauling is big business. New Hampshire spends $250 million to $300 million a year on trash collection. The industry employs 5,000 people, but because it is fragmented, people may not realize how much money is being spent on garbage, Maurer said.

"One of the best ways to encourage recycling is to give people an understanding of the costs," he said.

Pay-as-you-throw is one of the proven ways to improve the recycling rate, he said. But it has been a tough sell in some communities because people see the bag charge as a new tax, Maurer said.

"It isn't," he said, "if done properly."

Hampstead would be the first local community to adopt pay-as-you-throw, if the selectmen settle on that option.

Londonderry recently went to a new trash collection system which gives residents one 65-gallon trash barrel free, but charges for additional barrels. Doris Beatty of the Londonderry Solid Waste Department, said she calls the new system "limited waste."

The change went into effect two weeks ago and Beatty said she has already seen a reduction in the amount of trash curbside.

Derry considered pay-as-you-throw some 10 years ago, according to Mike Fowler, public works director. But people hated the idea and ultimately solved the problem by recycling more, he said. Ten years ago, the Derry transfer station processed about 14,000 tons of trash, which had to be carted away. Now, with better recycling, the trash is down to 9,500 tons. Derry's recycling rate is around 35 percent, Fowler said.

Pelham also considered charging for garbage bags, but the idea never gained traction with town officials, according to Town Administrator Thomas Gaydos.

"Pay-as-you-throw was not recommended by the Recycling Committee over a year ago," he said.

Pelham residents bring their trash to the transfer station, where recycling is mandatory.


Anonymous said...

Probably because nobody ever asked the question. It's a good question I must say. We don't have twice the population of Hampstead thats for sure.

All of the town budgets deserve more scrutiny. I know the PD is an easy target for obvious pork reasons but the Highway Dept is another gem and so is the FD. And the library is another one that needs closer look cause that big new building will have much higher utility costs than the old one. you'll see.

Its time fiscal reality came to town.

Anonymous said...

Of the twelve people living on my street, I am the only one recycling.

Anonymous said...

The last people to "scrutinize" the budget was Mark Acciard, and Janine Sawyer. Nobody asks hard questions on the budget committee anymore.

tim dziechowski said...

The selectmen were looking at ways to reduce trash and recycling costs even before this article was published. I am not sure what part of that $550K is for Waste Management pickup and what part is for the brush dump and recycling dumpsters. We are now getting the brush chipped for free. The latest idea is to shut down the $25/pickup truckload demolition debris dump program. It is supposed to be costing more than we get in fees.

I hate to see recycling cut, because if people can't find a place to throw things away, they'll invent one. When the selectmen shut down the brush dump last Winter to save money paying people to staff it, we had pickup loads of brush dumped on conservation land. We really don't need any demolition debris dumped there too. Better to raise the fees to where they cover the costs.

Anonymous said...

The demolition dump was a ripoff to taxpayers. Our road agent embarrassed himself at the selectmen's meeting on Aug 24 defending a poorly run program. It sounded to me like all 3 selectmen agreed their was clear evidence of abuse. go watch the video of the meeting. I heard out of town contractors were dumping stuff at odd hours and of course we pay for it.

If some people feel compelled to break the law and dump stuff illegally then the police should do something about it. We have a full time detective don't we? Maybe he should do some work. Let people try to dump illegally and get caught. I'd rather do that than continue with status quo. i find the threat of illegal dumping to be a weak excuse why we taxpayers should continue to get ripped off.

Anonymous said...

The selectmen didn't have to get rid of the dumpster; they had to MANAGE it. Since our selectmen can't manage ANYTHING effectively, they just go rid of a service. You call this good government? WRONG.


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