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Massena village board passes refuse rate increase


MASSENA - The village’s Board of Trustees has approved a refuse rate hike of $1.50, increasing the monthly charge to $22.75 per month.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad says the additional revenu ecould be utilized to allow the department to create its own system for transporting refuse to the Rodman Landfill.

Municipalities are now charged $44 per ton for refuse dumped at the Rodman landfill, and the village is also charged $78 per ton for garbage transported to the landfill from the county’s transfer station in Massena. The latest increase has increased the Department of Public Works’ annual budget by $100,000, Mr. Fayad said.

The village crews pick of an average of 4,000 tons of garbage per year, costing the department more than $300,000 in transportation fees alone.

“We can do it for less than that, I’m pretty sure. To me it’s a no-brainer,” Mr. Fayad said. “It’s going to take us a little (time) to get there, but we’re trying to save money, I’m trying to plan ahead.”

In order to transport refuse to the Rodman Landfill on its own, the Department of Public Works will first need to construct a transfer facility, where trash will be compacted and then loaded onto trucks for transport.

“First you have to get a site for this. We may already potentially have a site, but I have to do additional logistics as far as what we need for a site, what kind of building and what kind of equipment we’ll need,” Mr. Fayad said.

The department will also have to hire additional employees and purchase a super-compactor, which compacts refuse tight enough that approximately 35 tons of it can fit on a single truck, Mr. Fayad said. He estimates he would need a maximum of five personnel to manage the transfer station site, but he noted that his estimates were preliminary. He plans to prepare more detailed plans after the Department of Public Works completes its work on the Highland Road water improvement project.

Mr. Fayad also plans to use the additional revenue to purchase zero-sort recycling bins for Massena residents. The Department of Public Works switched to a zero-sort recycling policy earlier this month.

Mr. Fayad has applied for a $50,000 grant through the New York state Department of Conservation to purchase the tots, but if the village does not receive grant funding monies from the refuse account may be used to purchase those items. He believes the covered recycling tots are essential to protect recycled materials from the elements.

“You can put all your materials in a tot and then on windy days you’re not going to have papers flying all over the village of Massena,” he said.

Mr. Fayad said any savings the Department of Public Works sees from increased recycling or transporting its own refuse will be used to try to keep the refuse rate stable for a period of time.

Trustee Timothy J. Ahlfeld applauded Mr. Fayad for making an effort to save money during tough fiscal times.

“I guess it’s (Mr. Fayad’s) way of looking and thinking that there might be a better way to do things,” Mr. Ahlfeld said. “If the county’s costs (for refuse transportation) stay the same for the next five years, fantastic. But no way will the fees we pay now be the same in five years.”

Trustees Albert C. “Herb” Deshaies and Francis J. Carvel voted against the rate increase, arguing that the funds weren’t needed at this time.

Mr. Carvel pointed out the Department of Public Works has more than $280,000 in unappropriated fund balance in the refuse fund, which he thinks should be utilized before refuse rates are increased. “I don’t think it’s appropriate at this time to burden the taxpayers with another fee,” Mr. Carvel said.

Massena resident and former County Legislator R. Shawn Gray found the increase unnecessary, noting Mr. Fayad’s plans are still preliminary and do not require funding at this time.

“I don’t see why you’d raise the rates now, on the backs of people who are already strapped,” Mr. Gray said. “I don’t put gas in my car if I don’t need it.”

Mr. Fayad said a rate increase now will keep the refuse rate stable for several years. He also said village officials have pressured him in the past to do more planning. “That’s what I’m doing now,” he said.

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