CONELIAS: Table Discussion of Tipping Fees Until Pandemic Has Passed

Letter to the editor from Thomas Conelias, Refuse Collector, Conelias Refuse

Tipping fees are being proposed by the Selectman’s Office with a start date of July 1, 2020. As a Refuse Collector in Greenwich for over 40 years, I am not opposed to pay as you throw, adding another line item in the budget for a $100 per household (covering the added recycling expense next year) or even tipping fees.

However, this process cannot be rushed and we must first examine all of the changes and problems tipping fees may cause. The imposition of tipping fees is nothing more than an additional tax on our residents.

It also camouflages increased costs for every town resident, business, and public building.

Specifically, every town bid, including town buildings, BOE buildings, and trash can/recycling bin contracts as well as those residents who take their trash to the transfer station for free will now have new or increased fees. We need to be upfront and transparent about these costs.

A. Traffic at the Holly Hill Transfer Station will increase. With traffic in town already an issue, this will likely cause an even bigger problem at the facility. Although the town claims this will not be a problem, I would like to see a backup plan should this develop into a full blown nightmare.

B. Greenwich citizens need to understand that we are taking an existing budget line item and transferring it to the town’s citizens. I can only estimate that tipping fees would cause rate increases of approximately $15 for residents and much more for restaurants and other businesses.

C. With COVID-19, the coronavirus, causing massive closures, the town should consider tabling a discussion until businesses and citizens have time to re-group after this pandemic.

D. If the tipping fee ordinance is passed in June 2020, Refuse haulers have only 15 days to contact all costumers and businesses of rate increases.

E. The plan to charge residents to bring their own garbage and recycling to Holly Hill has not been finalized. There has been discussion of a $75 user permit.

F. Refuse haulers have to pay for their tipping fees at the scale at Holly Hill. By my estimate, my tipping fees would be about $15,000 per month and most customers are billed every two months which could cause extra personal finance costs for two-three month billing cycles.

G. There should be a flow control, meaning that all garbage generated in Greenwich should be brought to the town’s facility. There is currently a flow control but it has no teeth to penalize any haulers that don’t comply.

H. There will be no way to regulate illegal dumping from people leaving their garbage in any open container. It is not safe to have my employees searching through illegal dumped garbage to find violators names where there can be broken glass, needles, etc.

In closing, I am hopeful that the town will go through every issue before rushing through this process and that they will give residents time to recoup after our current pandemic before implementing any changes.

Thank you,
Thomas Conelias
Refuse Collector, Conelias Refuse
and current District 3 Vice Chair
and former Chairman, 2002-2020