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Colton elects not to expand tranfer station

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COLTON - The Colton Town Board has voted not to expand its transfer station to allow its use by non-Colton residents.

DPW Superintendent Darren Richards explained he and Councilman Ronald Robert recently met with Casella Waste Services General Manager Chester W. “Skip” Bisnett to discuss the possibility.

“Ron and I met with Skip Bisnett. Ron was interested in discussing opening the transfer station to non-Colton residents. Skip and I, in an offshoot conversation, discussed 2013, the contract that we’re currently in, and 2014 and then possibly doing an extension on that contract to 2015,” Mr. Richards said. “In doing so, he would renegotiate 2014 (with) the 2015 extension and encompass a lot of services for the town of Colton when it comes to being able to take more and negotiate metal scraps and things like that.

“There are pros and cons with the transfer station when it comes to opening it up. With the county being as volatile when it comes to the way they are with the transfer station, it’s difficult for us to do some long-range planning, in my opinion. Ron felt like there was more pros than cons when it comes to opening the transfer station to non-Colton residents. I thought that there was more cons than there were pros. ... It boils down to, you’ve got to make the decision whether you want to go into the business of being in the trash business and that’s for the board to decide, I guess.”

Mr. Robert pointed out the positives that would come from expanding the transfer station. “We’ve talked quite a bit, and we met with (Chester). There were some things that he mentioned like down the Russell Turnpike Road, let’s say there’s 10 houses down through there. Seven of them are going to the dump. Three are there, and it’s an issue of mileage. It’s very costly for them to do that,” he said. “So it’s actually cheaper for them to come to Colton, a designated area like the transfer station, and pick that up there. It saves everybody money.

“If you take 200 people and take a day, Friday or whatever, just for Pierrepont, and keep track of what’s been delivered and transferred out, at $300 (per person) that generates about $60,000. I think that money could be used to keep our taxes down. It doesn’t mean that it’ll work. It might not be 200 people, it might be 100 people. Then again, it could be 300 or 400 people and could be quite a bit of money. I’d like to give it a try.”

The councilman added that he knows Pierrepont residents who are in the school tax district who want to use the transfer station.

“I think this is going to take a team effort down the road. ... (We could do) a solution or a trial where we could see what would happen. And then when we propose this, we propose it in such a way that at the end of the six- month trial period if it isn’t working, throw it all out and forget it. If it works, it’s a benefit for everybody else,” Mr. Robert said.

Mr. Richards noted that since he began his tenure as DPW superintendent, manpower has been reduced by one or two positions, hauling has decreased considerably and the transfer station has become more efficient. He added that more improvements need to be made, and a bottle redemption effort is possible, where they can take in 8 1/2 cents per can and bottle, rather than the usual 5 cents.

“We’re trying to make the transfer station as efficient as we can and as low costing as we can for the town of Colton residents. That’s where I want to meet our need, is for the Colton residents,” he said. “One of the (biggest) things that is the hardest thing to do at the transfer station is number one, police it and keep it for Colton residents who are the tax base, and number two, monitoring the tonnage that’s brought in for outside users.”

Town Clerk Donna Arquiett noted that there was a catch to the $60,000 figure Mr. Robert mentioned.

“When he’s talking about 200 people and charging them $300 and that amounting to $60,000; that’s going to get eaten up with the expenses to haul it back out of here. So that’s not going to be a profit,” Ms. Arquiett said.

Councilman Donald Shoen said he was strongly opposed to opening up the transfer station to non-Colton residents.

“I, for one, am totally against opening it up to anybody else. The $60,000 that we would generate would be eaten up by the labor cost and even if we started a trial period, once you get them in, how are you going to get them out?” he said. “I’m sorry Ron. I can’t agree with you on this. I respect you but I do not agree with this proposal. I just don’t think it’s the way to go.”

The motion to not open up the Colton transfer station to other towns, except for those grandfathered in, was made by Mr. Shoen and approved by the board.

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