Derry board talks Transfer Station changes, salt shed construction

By Bruce Frauman
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Solid Waste coordinator Ester Fishman talks about the changes to the Transfer Station. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

In a busy session, the Londonderry Select Board Monday night wrestled with a number of long-term issues including Irene buyouts, the town’s salt and sand shed, solar installations and appointments.

Solid Waste coordinator Esther Fishman, who is in the process of creating a cashless payment system for the Transfer Station, said she has found paper that makes the word “VOID” appear when copied. At a cost of $0.05 per card, Fishman said this eliminates the opportunity for counterfeit copies being made of the proposed punch card for disposal of solid waste. She said this also eliminates the need to number the cards for accountability.

But the board was skeptical over Fishman’s proposal to raise the price of the annual residential sticker required to use the waste facility be raised from $10 to $15 for residents and from $25 to $30 for commercial users. Without an accurate count of the number of stickers issued, board chair Paul Gordon said he could not support an immediate vote on the proposed price hike. Fishman said 1,200 residential stickers were ordered along with 100 commercial stickers, but being a seasonal region, the stickers will continue to be sold throughout the year.

With a new system in place, Gordon said, “At the very least, you will be able to reconcile that the notebook … (of people who have bought stickers) matches up with the number of stickers that were purchased … We can’t account for the money at this point because it hasn’t been separated. We are going to remedy that with whatever process we go forward with. Some of those numbers (about reduced income from recyclables) that we can show people and explain that to them ‘Here is as to why we need to do this,’ I think is a benefit to everyone.” Fishman has said the Transfer Station, including recycling, costs about $200,000 more per year to operate than it receives in revenue.

From left, Select Board members Bob Forbes and Tom Cavanagh. Cavanagh says residents are considering using dumpsters instead of the Transfer Station.

Board member Tom Cavanagh agreed, saying that he has “heard from a number of people” that the price increase and the punch card system are making it more difficult. “They would rather pay for a dumpster and not use the transfer station. So explaining to people why this needs to happen is something that needs to happen.”

Board member James Ameden said, “It would be nice … to have the information on how many stickers were sold this year compared to the year before that compared to the year before that.” Pricing could then be based on actual numbers, he said, suggesting including the Transfer Station stickers to land owners in their property tax bills. Other provisions would have to be made for renters and residents of other towns using the Transfer Station. Treasurer Tina Labeau said Londonderry sends out about 1,1700 1,700 tax bills each year.

Gordon said the board intends to auction the Frogs Leap Inn property that it accepted for taxes. That auction is set for 1 p.m.  June 16, 2017 with a minimum bid of $235,000. 

Kevin Beattie explains the latest step in the Genser property FEMA buyout.

Town Administrator Stephanie Thompson said the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission is asking HUD for a two-month extension of the Community Development Block Grant that will pay Bette and Walter Genser for the Outlet Barn property that was damaged during Tropical Storm Irene. The grant period is scheduled to end on June 30.

The planned FEMA buyout was scuttled when the state Department of Transportation refused FEMA’s request to remove a flood wall that protects the Route 11 bridge.  Thompson said she and former administrator Kevin Beattie met last week to look at ideas as to how best to move forward. She said they decided to ask the board to approve a RFP for asbestos remediation

Beattie added that they just discovered that “asbestos mitigation requires a two-week notification period to the state, which can’t happen until we have a contractor to do it. … That adds another two weeks.” Board member George Mora made a motion, and the board approved,  for drafting of a Request for Proposals. Thompson said the attorneys have been working on the documents they need to get to Two Rivers.

Gordon said he and Bob Forbes have been working on the final siting of the salt and sand shed “to better use the site and harvest some of the gravel material that would be in the hillside.” Forbes said the building would move “up into the bank and toward the tennis courts just a little bit.” Once the siting is exactly determined, Gordon said they would “get that to the structural engineers and move forward with the other RFPs”  for the actual excavation and construction.

Board chair Paul Gordon expresses support for a strong energy chapter to the Town Plan.

Kim Ray said she sent out “letters of concern” last week to a number of town officials regarding the new solar array on Route 11 installed in view of her Thompsonburg Road house. She said there was no warning about the installation and construction work was done at odd hours, including 7 a.m. on Sundays. She said she would like to see an educational outreach explaining “what are these, how long do they last, how much power do they give, where does the power really go?”  Mora suggested Ray speak with current owner Bruce Genereaux. “It seems to me he wants to make that project ‘righter’ than it was at its inception,” said Mora.

Gordon said a new energy committee will help develop energy plans for the Town Plan that will give the town’s opinion “substantial deference” from the Public Service Board.  “We don’t have a voice at that table,” said Gordon. “We don’t get to know about some of these either. That’s part of the issue.”

Appointments

The Select Board also voted to hire Austin Morse to join the town’s road crew on the condition that his CDL is reinstated by the end of June. Former road crew employee Mathew Rawson was appointed Road Foreman by the board after Duane Hart resigned from the position in March.

Based on a recommendation from the Development Review Board, co-chaired by Esther Fishman, the Select Board appointed Bob Maisey to the DRB.

In other business

Having heard no comments about the draft smoking policy proposed at a previous meeting, the board approved it.

Town Clerk Kelly Pajala, who wears other hats with the town of Londonderry, talks about music in the Williams Park and a five-year parks plan.

Nadine Van Houten of the new Town Parks Board said they hope to hold Music Mondays at Williams Park with bands playing from 6 to 8 p.m. and local restaurants offering picnic deals. Parks board member Kelly Pajala said that if adequate electricity cannot be provided at Williams Park, the concerts will take place at Pingree Park.  After the park season ends in the fall, the Parks Board will work develop a five-year plan for the parks, Pajala said.

As Town Clerk, Pajala is coordinating Clean Up Day on Saturday May 6. Sign up to help at the town office. Bags are available and drop off locations are the South Londonderry Fire station, the Mill Tavern and the Transfer Station.

An RFP was approved by the board for site work on the FEMA buy out property near Wiley’s garage. The goal is to create a bike and pedestrian “rest area with natural access to the West River. Native species of plants are to be included to provide a green buffer with the neighbors.

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