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The Town of Cheshire's transfer station will be closed at the end of the month, but residents will be able to use a private facility to throw away their bulky waste.
As part of the budget process earlier this year, the Town Council decided to cut funding for the Town-operated transfer station along Waterbury Road. The move will save roughly $40,000 annually. The Transfer Station will be open on June 11 and, for the last time, on June 25. Director of Public Works Joseph Michelangelo explained that A.J. Waste, which is the Town's trash pick-up provider, has been operating a private facility for two or three years. Because of that, Michelangelo admitted that officials began asking, "Does the Town have to be in this business?"
"The service is being offered by a private entity, so the decision was made since it was provided elsewhere, the town doesn't have to (operate a transfer station)," Michelangelo said.
The cost to run the facility, which included overtime for Public Works employees, rental fees for the dumpster containers, and hauling and disposal fees, was around $85,000 annually. However, the fees paid by those using the facility resulted in roughly $45,000 of revenue each year. The net effect was a $40,000 loss to the Town.
"Do we continue to operate at a loss or raise prices?" Michelangelo asked. "If you raise prices, you could price yourself out and reduce the volume involved."
A.J. Waste operates Central Connecticut Recycling & Transfer, LLC on Burton Drive. Like the Town's transfer station, there are fees associated with disposing of material, based on weight. Other items have a flat fee attached.
The Town operated its transfer station twice a month, or 24 times a year. Through A.J. Waste, Central Connecticut Recycling & Transfer will be open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the year.
During the budget process in March and April, the Town Council decided to cut funding for the transfer station. The move will take effect on July 1, when the new fiscal year begins. The Council previously cut funding for bulky waste curbside pick up in 2009. Bulky waste curbside pick-up was originally an every-year service, but was then cut to every two years. The decision to cut the $150,000 a year program was made when the economy declined.
Bonnie Wallinger, owner of the Central Connecticut Recycling & Transfer facility, said she was surprised that the Town decided to wait so long to close its transfer station. Even before the economy dipped, towns were closing these facilities. With the economy down and budgets being stretched thin, Wallinger commented that a lot of municipalities are getting out of the bulky waste business all together.
"A lot of towns are cutting their bulky waste transfer stations," she said. "I'm surprised it's taken this long. Towns don't want to be in this business."
With increased permitting fees through the state, the cost to pay overtime to employees, and disposal fees constantly on the rise, Wallinger said "it made sense" to close the facility. She said residents would not see a decline in service, and the fees to dispose of the bulky waste would be similar to what the Town currently charges.
"It will save the Town money and won't cost the residents any more," she said. "It makes sense."
Michelangelo said the Town contracts its containers, so the hauler would take them back once the facility is closed. A scale and trailer are located on the property, as well as a shed to hold oil which has been disposed. Michelangelo stated that there was nothing to do at the site in terms of decommissioning the area, and that it won't be available for any collection services in the future.
"We are not planning any collection activities at the site," he said.
For more information, contact Central Connecticut Recycling & Transfer at (203) 272-1992.