Transfer station privatization leaves town short

The recent privatization of the county-run transfer stations will mean the Town of Whitehall will have a little less money in its coffers.

Town clerk Julie Millett said the town will be nearly $1,100 shy of what officials projected to receive in revenue from the sale of transfer station tickets.

“We had budgeted $2,000, but we’re going to be short,” Millett said. The town has made $907.70 this year from the sale of stickers, but Earth Waste & Metal, the company managing the transfer stations, plans to eventually transition to a pay-by-weight model for trash and while the company has continued to accept stickers for the last couple of weeks, local municipalities stopped selling the stickers last month.

The town has, for the past couple of years, charged more for stickers than the county’s asking price, making a few thousand dollars of revenue in the process. But with the county now out of the trash business, the town can no longer count on that revenue.

During the budgeting process, officials took into consideration the fact the transfer stations were likely to be privatized and adjusted their projections accordingly, but the transition to private management happened sooner than most expected.

Earth Waste & Metal assumed management of the transfer stations on April 22. It has continued to accept stickers as payment for trash with the county then reimbursing the company. County employees have also been at the stations buying the outdated stickers back from costumers for the last three weeks. Nearly $50,000 in outdated stickers has been reimbursed, officials said.

The company plans to transition to a weight-based charging system sometime in the coming weeks. The exact amount costumers can expect to pay hasn’t been announced, but will likely be 15 cents a pound.

Earth Waste & Metal inked a five-year lease agreement with the county earlier this year. The company has an option to purchase the stations outright anytime during the lease.

Officials have said the transfer stations were costing the county more than $500,000 a year.

Town board members did not express much concern about the shortfall from the sale of stickers and are hopeful to make up the money elsewhere.

Planning board resolution

The town approved a resolution that will give the planning board more latitude in approving permits for things like new businesses.

The measure will allow the planning board to accept more requests without having to go through the county. It does not include any new zoning, but should expedite the approval of new business, officials said.

“This should streamline the process so paperwork doesn’t have go to the county, then to the town and then back to the county,” said Christian Morris, attorney for the town.

The measure does include several exemptions, such as if a plan would affect county of state property, that would still need to be approved at the county level.

The resolution passed by a 4-0 vote. Board member Richard LaChapelle was absent.

Paving could begin next week

Louie Pratt, town highway superintendent, said the department has been digging ditches on Beckett Road in preparation for paving later this month.

Pratt said he hopes to being paving by next week, depending on weather.

The department received $140,208 in CHIPS funding, which municipalities often use to pay for the cost of paving.

He also told the board power has been turned back on along the mooring wall and two of three docks have been placed back in the water. A third dock near the boat launch of Skenesborough Drive, will be placed in the water after the state makes some repairs.

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on June 12.

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