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Solid waste assessment holds steady
Six years in a row
RIVER VALLEY -- For the sixth consecutive year, the per capita assessment remains the same for the six towns that make up the Northern Oxford Regional Solid Waste Board.
Mexico Town Manager John Madigan, who serves as administrator for the NORSWB, noted that key has been the revenue from recycling.
"The recyling revenue has been able to pay for the full cost of recycling, allowed us to fund the budget appropriate capital improvement plan and it's allowed enough money to keep the assessments to the towns the same for several years," he noted.
However, there was a shift in the per capita assessment, based on the 2010 census. The assessments to Rumford and Mexico went down due to loss of population.
Dixfield's population increased. However, Madigan said, "We reduced the total assessment so that the increase for Dixfield will be like half what they should have got."
The district took in $151,558 in recyling. That was down from the 2011 total of $178,991. "It's down because the market fluctuates," he said.
In 2011, newspaper averaged $126/ton and cardboard averaged $177/ton. But for last year, newspaper was down to $29/ton and cardboard to $111/ton. Madigan said the recycling market is back on its way up, particularly cardboard.
Total tons recycled went from 996 to 1,092. He said there was an additional savings of more than $8,000 from the recycling items not being part of the waste stream. With a cost to the district of $65 per ton to have it transported (plus tipping fees) to the landfill in Norridgewock, the total savings is around $65,000 per year by recycling.
The total tons this area transported to the landfill in 2012 was 9,036 tons. If not for recycling, that figure would be bumped another 10 percent.
In 2012, there was 365 tons of metal, 169 tons of newspaper and white paper, 513 tons of cardboard, 11 tons of plastic and 33 tons of tin cans. Last year, the recycling budget was $106,000, but they spent $96,892 and took in $151,558 in revenue.
Madigan noted that the waste generated from the member towns of Rumford, Mexico, Dixfield, Peru, Roxbury and Byron over the years "has been so consistent it's scary."
In 2011, the tonnage transported was 9,021, 9,600 in 2010, 8,700 in 2009, 9,128 in 2008, 8983 in 2007, 9262 in 2006 and 9,521 in 2005.
"Even though the population changes, it seems like we have the same volume of waste that goes out of here," Madigan noted. In terms of volume recycled, it was 1,092 tons in 2012, 966 in 2011, 983 in 2010, 1,128 in 2009 and 1,015 in 2008.
Not included is the wood waste and brush that gets pulled out. "And we also get credit for any companies that recycle their own stuff. They've got to report it," he said.
"Because of the market on recycling, we've been able to fund all our capital improvements without having to increase rates,"
Madigan said, adding that the budget does include $50,000 each year for the capital equipment account.
The total budget from 2007-2011 was kept at $866,917, then was lowered to $835,000 last year because of the additional recycling revenue. The current budget is $988,000, with the assessments to the towns being $835,000.
At the transfer station in Mexico, Madigan said they paved a new area and moved the recycling bins to an area that safer from traffic. There are also plans to eventually overlay the whole yard.They're also starting to make improvements to the transfer station. The main building was put up in 1978 and the recycling building was put up in 1990.
They're also building up the reserve fund to replace the expensive equipment that's nearing the end of its useful life.
In 2008, they replaced one of the trailers to haul and then replaced the other two in 2011. Those cost $70,000 apiece. They are expected to be in service for 15 years.
The tractor they have is up for renewal but they will keep using the one they have until the tractor Rumford has is used up and they have to replace it. Theirs doesn't leave the yard but is used to move the trailers in and out of the hopper where they get loaded. "Then we'll buy that one for the salvage value. The cost on that tractor is actually is the trip fee they charge. we really buy it over the life of it," Madigan said, adding that when it comes to the replacement, NORSWB will ultimately pay for the cost.
They also replaced by bucket loader and the front end loader ($100,000) in 2010, and replaced the Bobcat skid steer (loads the bales into the truck) in 2006.
They have a baler that's due to be replaced in 2015 at a cost somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000.
A 1978 Peabody Easy Pack, which loads the trailers is scheduled to be replaced in 2018 at a cost of $100,000 or more, which is covered in the capital plan if it needs to be replaced earlier.
"It's a perfect system. It works beautifully," said Madigan of the solid waste district.
He said NORSWB and Med-Care Ambulance are both "quasi-municipal districts that were set up, just like the sewer district and the water district, to be responsible for a specific function. So that's all they have to deal with. And the towns are all represented on these boards and the selectmen make the appointments. Because they're all quasi-municipal, we get assessed for our share of the cost."
"We're in good shape. We should be in good shape for at least a couple more years, with the timing of the market being good.
"What we're looking at for 2013 is probably another $150,000 or so (recycling revenue)," noted Madigan.