Smith lauds progress, story of Transfer Station
By Amanda Collins
SUTTON – Users and the rate of recycling is steadily increasing at the town Transfer Station, while the amount of solid waste collected there is on the decline.
Presenting numbers and statistics related to the Stone School Road facility at last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, town administrator Jim Smith said the Transfer Station is “a great story, and a great option for residents of the town to use and to save a little money.
The average family spends about $235 a year to use the station, which reflects the annual $40 sticker and 1.5 large bags of trash a week. The bags, which can be bought at the town hall or at various businesses around town, have stayed the same price – $2.50 or $1.50, depending on the size – since the Transfer Station first opened eight years ago.
The facility presents an opportunity for marked savings for town residents, who pay $534 annually for curbside trash pickup. More than that, the Transfer Station also benefits the town, generating about $10,000 in revenue in the last fiscal year, Smith said.
The Transfer Station opened in 2006 at an expense of $254,359, and in its first year generated $208,639.
“We lost more than $40,000 that year – we were just figuring it out,” said Smith, who came in as the town administrator the following year. “We really didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t know what the actual cost was going to be.”
In the next year, expenses were paired down to $161,507, in a large part by reducing staff from three to one. Presently, the Transfer Station functions with one operator, Dave Arsenault, on weekdays and an additional assistant on Saturdays.
In its fifth year, the Transfer Station made its first profit – $6,348 in fiscal year 2010. Later, sticker fees were increased by $10, which grew its revenue further.
“The last two years we’ve netted almost $30,000 in the Transfer Station, in part because of the increase in the sticker fee, but also in part because of the great management that goes on down there by the operator,” said Smith.
Users are steadily on the rise, but the amount of solid waste there continues to decline. In fiscal year 2011, 547 tons was collected, but last year, just 486 tons was collected.
Related, said Smith, is the increase in the recycling rate, which jumped from climbed from 40 percent to 48 percent between 2011 and 2014. That rate does not include recycled clothes, batteries, yard waste, tires, or cans and bottles, which Smith said would reflect an even higher rate of recycling.