Board approves transfer station stickers

The Board of Health approved a sticker program for the Twiss Street transfer station Wednesday to prevent use of the facility by non-residents.
Health Director Michael Suckau said Thursday that residents using the transfer station will be required to display a sticker after July 1, 2012. The cost of the sticker was set at $10 by the board.
Suckau said that he researched the cost of transfer stations in nearby communities.
“The range of the permit in other communities is from $10 to more than $100 a year,” Suckau said. “We may expand the program down the line, but the board felt this is a good start to get people used to the program.”
“The purpose of the sticker program is to prevent nonresident use and business use,” he said. “It’s not fair for city residents to be paying for (disposal of) other people’s trash.”
Members of the City Council raised that issue when Suckau appeared before the city’s legislative body on Jan. 5, 2012 to discuss improvements of and funding for the Twiss Street transfer station.
Suckau said that a sticker program was recommended by consultants hired to assess increasing the capacity of the transfer station. The state Department of Environmental Protection currently caps the tonnage allow at 50 tons per day. Residential curb-side trash collection accounts for nearly the entire current cap limit.
The city has been evaluating a request to increase that cap to 150 tons a day, which would allow it to expand the facility to allow commercial disposal.
The council voted to approve more than $200,000 two years ago for construction of a gatehouse and for the design of covered facilities required by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Federal Aviation Administration, as part of a process to increase the tipping tonnage at the transfer station.
One of the primary issues raised by members of the council was the lack of a gatekeeper to monitor usage at the facility.
Ward 6 Councilor Christopher Crean was the most direct when he urged Suckau to “put someone at the gate.”
“There is so much opportunity to make millions of dollars per year (if the cap is increased to 150 tons a day),” Crean said. “The city has a (revenue generating) asset. Put your running shoes on and push this through the state.”
Ward 2 Councilor James E. Brown Jr., said the “council will support getting the (design and construction) process done faster. Certainly getting a return on our investment is a good thing. Going right to the top (tipping limit) to bring money back into the city is something we’d support.”
Ward 5 Councilor Richard E. Onofrey Jr., also urged Suckau to seek additional funds to speed the construction and permitting process.
“Two years ago we authorized a bond for construction,” Onofrey said. “I understand that the stormwater issue (which caused major erosion) delayed that, but part of that funding was for a gatehouse. I’ve been up there several times and have never seen anyone checking what was being brought into the facility or if the people who were coming in were city residents. It’s a real concern.”
Suckau said this week that the stickers, which will be attached to the back of the rear-view mirror in the vehicle so it is visible to staff at the transfer station, is the first step.
The second step will be hiring a part-time employee to serve as the gatekeeper.
“The idea is to monitor who is using the facility and to check loads to see what materials are being brought into the station,” he said. “Right now we have about 35 vehicles a day coming into the transfer station, so it’s higher than one would presume. Either people are generating more trash that they can dispose in their curbside pick-up or its people from out-of-town.
“That (part-time) position will morph into the (full-time) gatekeeper post” if the DEP approves a higher capacity cap. “We want to show a presence for the taxpayers benefit,” Suckau said.
The department is currently seeking an engineering consultant to walk the city through the DEP permit review process.
“We want a consultant to deal with that whole process,” Suckau said.
That process may also include the design and construction of additional facilities required by the DEP such as enclosing the tipping area and vehicle storage buildings.

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