Montville raises transfer station fees

Montville — After months of debate over how to address abuses of the transfer station, the Town Council on Wednesday backed an overhaul to solid waste regulations and agreed to cap bag drop-offs and hike sticker fees over the next three years.

Within the next 20 days, the transfer station no longer will allow people to dump a limitless number of bags, with the new regulations bumping the $3 one-time visit fee to $15 and capping the bag total to eight per visit. For annual transfer station sticker holders next year, the limit will be eight bags per week; each additional bag will cost residents $3.

Councilors held off on potential regulation and fee changes last week after feisty debate over the impact of fee hikes on seniors and people on fixed incomes. After a push to revisit the proposed fee bumps from Councilors Billy Caron, Kathy Pollard and Joe Jaskiewicz, the new fee for seniors next year will be $55 followed by $10 increases in 2020 and 2021.

For all other transfer station users, sticker fees will increase from $55 to $80 in 2019, followed by $20 increases in each of the next two years.

The new regulations, approved in a 5-2 vote, represent the first substantial updates to solid waste and disposal rules and fees in the last few decades.

This summer, councilors debated whether to implement a pay-per-bag system designed to boost recycling, cut down on transfer station costs and potentially eliminate the pesky problem of people dumping truckloads of bags at once.

But facing opposition from transfer station users, councilors instead focused on retooling the trash regulations, hammering out tighter guidelines for what counts as disposable waste; laying out rules for contractors disposing of waste; and deciding that annual stickers must be permanently affixed on residents' windshields.

Multiple residents told councilors on Wednesday that the fee hikes were too steep, urging officials to consider lower fees or spreading them out over five years instead of three.

“Why are we nickeling and diming the public at a time like this? Are we desperate for money?” asked former Mayor Howard “Russ” Beetham, noting the town has several million dollars in reserve funds. 

Councilors Tom McNally, Joe Rogulski, Jeff Rogers and Wills Pike have argued increasing fees is a fairer way to run the transfer station and cut down on abuses, as opposed to continually passing on costs to all taxpayers.

“We did reduce the (proposed) senior fee by 33 percent,” McNally said Wednesday night. 

Caron and Jaskiewicz, the only votes against the fee hikes, argued against raising fees each of the next three years.

McNally responded that the regulations and fees could be reviewed and potentially adjusted in the future.  


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