On Monday night, during a relatively short RTM general meeting, some attended in person at Greenwich Town Hall and others participating via Zoom.
The legislative body voted to retain the sunset clause as it applies to the Holly Hill hauler tip fee per ton and resident permit fee ($25), but extended it to June 30, 2022. The vote was 205 in favor and 7 opposed, 3 abstentions.
Tipping fee and permit fees were both due to sunset at the end of October 2021.
“We were told the commercial haulers claimed they carted Greenwich waste to lower cost outside facilities, though it was pointed out it seemed unlikely haulers would admit to having previously dumped outside Greenwich waste at Holly Hill.Michael Spilo, Chair of RTM Public Works Committee
“The town charges the fee for the fiscal year, but the sunset clause is effective October 31, and it’s complicated to sell a permit for a limited number of months,” said Kip Burgweger, chair of the Legislative & Rules committee.
Last June the Board of Selectmen voted to implement a tip fee at the Holly Hill Resource Recovery Facility, aka “the dump,” of $112.00 per ton, plus a $25 permit fee for residents who prefer to bring their own trash to the dump.
While the resident permit fee program was originally supposed to be $75, the RTM reduced it to $25.
At the time, First Selectman Camillo said he felt $25 was too low.
There were updates from members of the RTM who are also on the Selectman’s Solid Waste Committee. The group has been studying both fees for six months, and reported that so far the programs had been very successful.
There has been an overall decrease in municipal solid waste, and increase in recycling and an increase in revenue from permit fees.
Michael Spilo, Chair of the RTM Public Works committee, said they had met with First Selectman Fred Camillo, DPW Commissioner Amy Siebert and town attorney Aamina Ahmad and learned that the total MSW brought by commercial haulers dropped nearly 40% after tipping fees were implemented, and that self-haulage had increased.
“We learned that tipping fees substantially reduced waste and increased revenue to town, but the permit fee still needed consideration,” he said.
“We were told the commercial haulers claimed they carted Greenwich waste to lower cost outside facilities,” Spilo added. “Though it was pointed out it seemed unlikely haulers would admit to having previously dumped outside Greenwich waste at Holly Hill.”
Per the Explanatory comments:
“DPW now has operating data demonstrating that commercial hauler tipping fees have been successfully implemented. The tipping program has matched or exceeded expectations; MSW tipped from Holly Hill is down by 1/3 saving the town approximately $1mm, savings combined with permit and tipping fees will have a positive impact to both the FY21 and FY22 budget of over $3.4mm annually.”
Dan Ozizmir, member of the first Selectman’s Waste committee, also talked about the success of the tip fees and resident permit fees on Monday night.
He recalled that when the debate on tipping was occurring, there was a concern that Greenwich would lose some of their “home town haulers.”
In fact, he said, “There has been no reduction in the amount of haulers serving Greenwich.”
He said there had also been fears of a significant increase in traffic at Holly Hill, but the amount of direct drop off had only increased by 4%.
“That is frankly just a little bit of year-to-year noise, so we don’t know if we see a significant trend there,” Ozizmir added.
He noted that while the resident permit fee program was originally supposed to be $75.00, the RTM reduced it to $25.00.
Still, the town sold triple the number of permits they anticipated.
The town initially expected to sell 2,500 but they sold about 7,000.
“Even at the lower price, (the town) was able to raise even more revenue, and clearly the residents have been very happy with the program,” he said.
Cheryl Moss, district 8 Chair and Co Chair of the MSW committee, said, “We are working on some promising long term solutions we’ll explain in our final report to the RTM in Sept 2021, including a recommendation on permit fees. Given the pandemic and potential distortions in trash trends at Holly Hill, the waste management committee needs more time to analyze and verify the data prior to determining its final recommendation.”
She also said they had not yet been able to meet with the auditors at Holly Hill, and require feedback to make sure their final recommendations are practical and easily implemented.