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North Adams Increasing Waste Disposal Prices

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Residents will see a price hike in transfer station bags of 25 to 50 cents beginning in July and a scale rate jump of less than a penny per pound. This is expected to cost the average family of four about $53 more a year to dispose of their trash.
The Public Services Committee is recommending the adoption of the new prices for fiscal 2022 after reviewing the figures on Wednesday. The City Council passed the changes to a second reading and publication at its June 8 meeting, with referral to Public Services. The full council is expected to give final approval Tuesday.
The fees at the transfer station are based on costs of labor and disposal of waste, which has continued to rise. 
The cost of a 33-gallon bag will rise 50 cents to $3 and 15-18 gallon bags by 25 cents to $1.50. This is the first bag increase in two years. The scale rate per ton will increase from 0.0667 cents to 0.0749 cents, from $133.45 to $149.83, or $52.97.
The average family generates 4.9 pounds of trash a day, according to the U.S. Environmental Agency, but this also takes into account food waste. The city is still using the older figure of 4.43 pounds for solid waste and garbage. 
This will translate to about 3.2 tons of waste a year for a family of four or $544.54 including the sticker cost of $60 which comes with two bags. 
The transfer station anticipates a cost of $467,537.40 dispose of about 4,500 tons of trash this coming year. This includes a contracted cost per ton of $86.58 and $103.90 cost per ton for city trash, illegal dumping, the two "free" bags, stickers and recycling. The addition of labor, utilities, supplies, benefits and miscellaneous brings the total budget to $674,237.30.
"We're in the process of entering into a new contract with our provider, and we know that those costs will go up," Mayor Thomas Bernard said at the last City Council meeting. "So we're trying to represent accurately the cost of operations for the transfer station."
An additional laborer is being added by transferring what was an unfilled position in the Highway Department to the transfer station. This is being required by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The total cost for wages and overtime for foreman, laborers, scale operators and monitors comes to $126,298.24.
The sales of resident ($60), non-resident ($80) and commercial ($85) stickers is expected to bring in $112,440. The transfer station no longer accepts large haulers, and is considered a small-scale operation, but it does expect to sell 202 commercial permits for small haulers and commercial-plate vehicles. This is an increase from the past two years.
All other fees will remain the same as well as the current hours and days the transfer station is open.
The mayor said the more recent practice of not accepting cash at the transfer station will continue as well accepting debit/credit cards in advance for haulers. 
"It's just good practice," he said, and as for charge accounts for small haulers, "in looking at it, we have had situations where those accounts become liabilities to the city."
Correction: an error in the per-ton figure has been corrected.

Tags: fiscal 2022,   transfer station,   

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NA Housing Authority Closes Balconies, Sets Structural Survey

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Housing Authority Board of Commissioners voted to close all balconies on its buildings and have a structural survey done.
Executive Director Jennifer Hohn asked the commissioners Monday to consider the actions out of an abundance of caution in light of the recent condominium collapse in the state of Florida.
"We just want to make sure nothing like that ever happens," Hohn said. "It is just proactive on our part."
The study would include Ashland Park (colloquially the "high rise") and Spring Park apartments — the two larger complexes located downtown.
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