Londonderry Transfer Station alters pay structure, method

By Bruce Frauman
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

In an effort to streamline the system and bring some financial stability and accountability to it, the Londonderry Transfer Station on Route 100 is changing how residents and businesses will pay for disposal of their trash.

Effective Oct. 2, residents of Londonderry, Weston, Peru, Windham and Landgrove will no longer be able to pay cash at the station when they bring bags of trash or yards of construction waste for disposal. Instead, they’ll have to purchase punch cards at Londonderry Hardware, the Weston Marketplace or participating town offices, except for Landgrove. At the same time, prices per bag will rise, from $1 to $2 for a 13-gallon bag, from $3 to $4 for a 30-gallon bag then up to $5 to $6 for a large construction bag.

As residents grow accustomed to the new program, Londonderry Town Treasurer Tina Labeau said, punch cards will be available for sale at a slightly higher cost at the Transfer Station until Dec. 31 2017.

Also, an order form for punch cards will be available on the town website and punch cards can also be ordered by mail with a check and self-addressed envelope, said Londonderry Town Clerk Kelly Pajala. Residents will be able to print out the form, make the check out to the Town of Londonderry and send that with the self-addressed envelope to Londonderry Town Offices, 100 School St. at S. Londonderry 05155.

Punch cards will sell for $10 for five punches and $20 for 10 punches. One punch accommodates a 13-gallon bag. “Commercial punch cards for bulk disposal will be available for $120 from the Londonderry Town Office only,” Labeau said.  

Punch cards will be available for purchase in September and, beginning on Saturday, Sept. 2, the Transfer Station will begin accepting them.

Starting Tuesday, Sept. 5 — the day after Labor Day — the Londonderry Town office will begin aligning its hours with the Transfer Station and be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays except Wednesdays, when it will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Transfer Station hours will continue to be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday (closed Wednesdays) and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. And recycling will continue to be free.

Transfer Station employee Steve Twitchell says he’ll be happy not to have to deal with cash. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

Currently, residents and businesses buy an annual entrance sticker for $10 and $25 respectively, with bag rates of $1 for a 13 gallon bag up to $5 for a 55 gallon bag for residents and cubic yard rates of $30 to $50 for commercial businesses.

The new 2018 annual stickers will be available in November. Pajala said the current stickers are still valid. But, in a change, the annual stickers will be available only in person or by mail from the town of Londonderry office, instead of at the Transfer Station.

Transfer Station employee Steve Twitchell said he “likes the idea of getting money out of the Transfer Station. I can now dedicate 100 percent of my time” to helping clients as opposed to managing and accounting for cash. He added that he also believes this will make the Transfer Station run more efficiently.

He said one problem he faces is “estimating the amount of loose debris” as if it were bagged. “When it is in a bag it is a lot easier, especially with larger loads. Fairness and accuracy are the two most important things in a job like this.” 

Notice of the change was sent out in the towns’ tax bills.

Transitioning to new payment method

Labeau told The Telegraph that every annual report from the auditors since 2011 has included a note asking for a way to reconcile the cash taken in at the transfer station. As it now stands, there is no way to confirm that the amount of cash paid for annual stickers and disposal fees is the same as the amount later deposited.

A Transfer Station customer sorts his recyclables.

Solid Waste manager Esther Fishman said a year ago the Select Board asked her to come up with a plan. During the past year, she visited every affected select board to hear suggestions. She had considered several methods for residents to pay for solid waste including pre-paid printed bags, special coins, credit cards and stickers to be placed on bags. When asked how people bringing trash cans instead of bags would be able to use stickers, Fishman was convinced that the best method would be use of pre-paid punch cards, the method used in Killington and Pittsford.

Fishman gathered a committee that e-mailed ideas back and forth but met in person only once to help her think through all the possibilities. The committee included Transfer station manager Keith Barton, Weston Select Board member Jim Linville, Tina Labeau, and Londonderry residents Pat and Ryan Lundberg. The Londonderry Select Board approved the use of punch cards and a per bag price increase at its meeting on May 15.

An Ontario resident who is in the area six weeks out of the year told The Telegraph during a recent Saturday visit to the Transfer Station that he does not think he will mind the new system. He is “grateful to have someplace” to take his trash and recycling.

On the other hand, Julie Adams of Londonderry, said, “I don’t really like it.” Though she thinks she will get used to it, Adams said she likes being able to just pay cash. She added that she is concerned weekend renters might not know about the new system and might not purchase punch cards before going to the Transfer Station.

Fishman said there will be “bumps in the road” and we will have to “tweak” the system. “It is hard to think of everything” Fishman said, adding that property owners should be providing the information to their renters.

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  1. Need a correction in this article. The actual date that the Transfer Station will begin accepting the punch cards is Oct. 2.