Starting Feb. 1, the Town will institute a bulk trash fee. The Board of Selectmen approved this fee after reviewing and discussing data from the Transfer Station.
The Town’s Transfer Station has a scale which is used to charge haulers bringing in residential trash. Starting Feb. 1, the scale will also be used for residents and contractors bringing in “bulk” trash items, such as furniture and construction demolition. That fee will be $0.10 per pound. Cash is not accepted at the Transfer Station.
“This modified fee is one way for the Town to prepare for a difficult fiscal future by shifting the cost of the service to those who use it rather than have all residents subsidize it,” said First Selectman Beth Heller. “As we begin budget season, it’s important to remember that education takes up approximately two-thirds of our annual operating budget. As the school districts’ budgets continue to increase without a corresponding increase in the Town’s grand list from either new commercial buildings, more businesses and/or more homes, the Town will be forced to cut services, cut education and/or raise taxes. None of these are palatable options but may be necessary in the future as we continue to have no new revenue sources.”
Currently the Town charges $20/cubic yard – in fiscal year 2021 the Town collected $4,511 in bulk trash fees but paid out $69,490 to haul and dispose of bulk trash. The new fee will cover the Town’s costs.
In addition, the Town will continue to offer bulk trash pickup five months a year, but with a fee. Starting on Feb. 1 there will be a $50 per appointment fee. That fee will partially cover the Town’s cost to run this program including staff time and disposal costs.
In the next decade or so there will be a significant reduction in trash disposal capacity statewide and in the Northeast, which will drive up costs for municipalities and their residents. The Town’s bulk trash fee is, in part, a response to this looming trash crisis.
Simultaneously, the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is strongly encouraging towns to institute a program with several different names. You may see it referred to as Pay As You Throw (PAYT) Unit Based Pricing, or Save Money and Reduce Trash (SMART).
PAYT means that households are charged for the amount of waste they throw away. This provides incentives for residents to decrease the waste they generate and increase the amount they reuse and recycle. The State is offering grants to institute these programs and Woodbridge submitted an expression of interest to participate in a pilot. If the Town is encouraged to apply for the grant the Board of Selectmen will discuss the program in more detail and residents will receive more information about it.