Thursday, February 11, 2010

Solid waste - pros/cons

While it is a done deal with the Town Council approving to set the new trash fee at $233 per year (with future action to possibly reduce it to $220 per year) let's recap the impact on the average homeowner.

My typical trash day:

What it could be with the two new tooters:

Approx 2,500 people get stickers at Beaver St to dump trash there. The cost for the sticker will go up $10 to a total of $20. But the annual curbside pickup service rate drops from $240 to $220 so it is a break-even situation for those 2,500 folks. They pay $20 for the Beaver St sticker but save $20 $24 on the annual curbside rate. For the other approx 6,000 Franklin trash users, they all save $20 $24 per year. Franklin has a net savings.

Franklin residents currently would need to buy and maintain their own trash barrels. The Town does supply the current recycle containers. In the new system, the Town will buy and maintain new 65 gallon tooters or bins or trash barrels with wheels. The wheels should allow for easier movement from garage or wherever to the sidewalk or curbside. If a wheel comes off, call the DPW and they'll get it repaired. All this is included in the $20 $24 per year savings.

The totters (bins, barrels, etc) would be purchased from the enterprise account. With current interest rates, the financing cost will be minimal and after a projected five year payback, the Town owns the totters. The annual rate can drop as the financing is complete. The Town could elect (and probably should elect at that time) to put some of the project $19 savings aside in the enterprise account for future purchases to replace the totters as they wear out after ten years. All this would be done with the existing $20 $24 per year savings and a possibility for more after five years.

Some fear that the large totters with wheels will be too hard to navigate from the garage/shed/wherever to the curbside. Well it seems to me something can roll a whole lot easier than it can be carried even if the ground is uneven. The Town has committed to give the 65 gallon containers a trial period. At different times it was talked of from 3-6 months, after which if someone really needs a smaller container, they can have one. There would be no reduction in fee for the smaller size. They would still benefit from the overall $20 $24 annual savings.

Some fear that the 65 gallon container would not be sufficient for their normal trash usage. This might be a good opportunity to look at your trash usage and perhaps try to recycle more, or change your purchases to avoid creating so much trash. For those few times a year (holidays and special parties, in particular) where the 65 gallon container would not be enough, the resident could obtain (in some not completely specified manner) a sticker to put out an additional bag (at presumably an additional cost). It could also be an opportunity to be careful about what goes into the container when it would be anticipated to get too full and hold some of the trash for the following week when there would be more space. It could also be an opportunity to put some in with a neighbor (assuming they have room). It could also be cause for the resident if this happens on too frequent a basis, to actually obtain an additional 65 gallon trash container and pay the additional fee for it. How many residents would fit into this category on a regular basis? Good question, I don't believe anyone knows. 

Given the one uncertainty and the more compelling cost savings considered above, I think the Council made a good choice. The final result will clearly be known overtime as the new system gets implemented.

Updated - I caught a math error of my own that was replicated throughout this posting. Subtracting 220 from 244 is 24 not 20.

No comments:

Post a Comment