China transfer station committee agrees on formula for rate hike

by Mary Grow

China Transfer Station Committee members agreed unanimously on two recommendations at their March 8 meeting.

They will ask select board members to provide help – perhaps an intern – to analyze data from the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system that keeps track of vehicles entering the transfer station. Committee Chairman Lawrence Sikora estimated the system has collected 70,000 “data points” – information that would be useful, Paul Lucas suggested, if select board members want to change transfer station hours with minimum inconvenience to users.

They further recommended, as part of a long discussion of the contract by which Palermo residents use China’s transfer station, amending the contract to simplify fee changes.

As it now stands, the contract provides a formula for increasing the price Palermo residents pay for the trash bags they are required to use for MSW (mixed solid waste). After months of discussion, there is consensus on recommending an increase from $2 to $2.70 per bag, effective April 1.

Robert Kurek, Palermo Select Board chairman and one of Palermo’s two representatives on the transfer station committee, intended to present the proposed price when his board met March 10.

The contract says the same process should apply to other price increases for specific items, like tires, electronics and furniture – a provision that contradicts the actual policy of having China transfer station staff recommend price changes and China Select Board members approve them.

Also, an extremely cumbersome policy, committee members agreed. They voted unanimously to recommend deleting it, retaining the provision that such fees apply to Palermo and China residents equally. Residents of any other town are charged more.

Other contract amendments are under consideration. For example, the contract specifies 30-gallon trash bags; standard bags are 33-gallon.

Kurek said he and China Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood want to specify that bag prices will be reviewed annually in January, according to an agreed formula, with changes if any to be effective April 1 of the same year.

Committee members discussed the latest development concerning the closed Hampden recycling facility. After a virtual meeting of representatives of involved municipalities on March 10, public reports said the facility should have a new owner by the end of June, although a new owner does not guarantee reopening.

There has been little progress on two projects at the China transfer station, putting a cover over the pre-crusher and buying a new loader. Manager Ronald Marois said he has estimates on a loader, higher than expected, and ungenerous trade-in offers on the town’s current machine that he is not inclined to accept.

The next China Transfer Station Committee meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 12.


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