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Cape officials mull no-cash policy at transfer site

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CAPE VINCENT — Those who use the town transfer station soon might have to start making detours to the clerk’s office to buy punch cards, instead of paying cash on-site.

At an auditor’s recommendation, the Town Board is considering a no-cash policy at the transfer station on Wilson Road. This would mean customers will have to pay first at the town clerk’s office on Route 12E, some 2.7 miles away, or write a check.

Opposing the move is station operator Nina E. Buskell, who views it as an unnecessary inconvenience to her customers.

During discussions at a recent town board work session, she told Cape Vincent council members that many of her customers are seasonal residents who use the transfer station on weekends, when the town clerk’s office is closed.

“People come in with cash. They have a dollar, and they’ve got a dollar’s worth of garbage. They don’t like the punch cards,” she said. “I’m not saying you can’t make them buy it, but I’m saying I know my customers.”

“And then you’ve got the summer people and the cottage people who come up, and they’re only here for the weekend,” she said. “They’re not going to buy a punch card to go to the dump to get rid of their one bag of trash.”

But town officials maintain that this change is necessary to prevent problems — such as the embezzlement of town funds by former town clerk Jeri A. Mason — and that it’s just a matter of changing people’s habits.

Ms. Buskell said the town had made attempts to switch to a punch card system before with little success.

“And who’s going to decide how much the load costs?” she asked the town board. “I can tell you basically how much weight is sitting in that trailer because I’ve been doing it for 10 years.”

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