WESTBROOK – At a recent town meeting attended by about ten residents, Landfill Operator Jim Dauda presented a proposal to change fees and procedures at the town’s landfill on McVeagh Road.
Westbrook’s proposed increase for the metal area would raise the cost of disposing of refrigerators to $15 while disposal of washers, dryers, air conditioners, and stoves would rise to $10.
This puts the town almost in line with Old Saybrook which charges $10 for disposal of all large appliances including washers, dryers, dishwashers, furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, and stoves.
Deep River charges $10 for refrigerators and air conditioners while Chester charges $25 for refrigerators and air conditioners.
The towns of Lyme and Old Lyme charge $10 for any unit containing Freon.
The Town of Essex also has a $10 charge for products with Freon.
Westbrook’s proposed increase for car tires of 16 inches would raise the charge to $3 each and $5 each for truck
tires on and off rims.
This would put their charge similar to Essex which charges $5 to dispose of car tires with a rim and $3 for car tires
without a rim.
Essex does not accept disposal of truck tires.
At Deep River, car tires cost $1.50 for disposal and truck tires costing $5 each.
Old Saybrook charges $2 each for disposal of car tires; $4 each for truck tires over 16 inches, and $10 each for tires for large trucks and equipment.
In Chester, car tires cost $10 each for disposal while truck tires cost $15.
In Lyme, tires vary from $1 to $4 for disposal.
In Old Lyme, car tires can be disposed of for $2 per tire and truck tires can be disposed at a charge of $10 per tire.
Westbrook’s proposed increase for furniture would require residents to pay $10 to dispose of one-room rugs, tarps, and pool covers, $15 to dispose of mattresses, bed springs, padded chairs, and auto seats, $20 for sofas and recliner chairs, and $25 for sofa beds.
Old Saybrook charges $5 to dispose of stuffed chairs, $8 for mattresses and box springs, $10 for love seats and sofas, and $18 for sleeper sofas.
Old Lyme charges $5 for 8′ by 10′ or smaller carpets and small stuffed furniture, $8 for a box spring or mattress $10 for large stuffed furniture and carpets over 8′ by 10′, and $15 for box springs with mattress.
Deep River charges $3 for mattresses and rugs over 8′ by 10′.
Lyme charges $2 for a mattress or box spring while Chester charges $20 for mattresses and $3 for rugs over 8′ by 10′.
Dauda claimed the increase would still be “half the price of other towns,” however increases for metal disposal actually is quite similar to neighboring towns.
The increase for car tire disposal would make the town more expensive than two of its neighboring towns while increases in disposal of furniture would make the town’s fees more expensive than most neighboring towns.
First Selectman John Raffa said the fee increases are part of a transition process as the landfill will soon act solely as a transfer facility since, according to the Department of Environmental Protection, the facility has reached capacity level.
Selectman Tony Palermo questioned why no comparison data sheet was complied with landfill rates of other towns.
While the proposed changes to the landfill include the provision “no scavenging allowed primarily for safety reasons,” Dauda admitted dumpsters will not be locked.
Resident Jeffrey Kriete questioned how the landfill could prevent people from coming in late at night to steal valuable metals.
Claiming that $40,000 to $50,000 in metal has been stolen from the landfill in the past, Kriete said that this practice
would continue even if the town passed the new ordinance.
Ordinance Section 15-25 specifically states “the landfill operator shall have full authority, at his discretion, to recycle any items or scrap to Westbrook residents who request said items on a first come first served basis.”
“If you allow one person with authority to go out (with metals) a lot more will go out. This has been going on for years,” Kriete said.
Section 15-24 requires all metals to be stored in two containers, one for light mixed metals, and the other for heavy metal, aluminum, brass and copper.
The ordinance states that these metals are to be sent to a facility, approved by the Board of Selectmen, with all proceeds going to the town.
Section 15-25 prohibits commercial collectors from depositing bulky waste and recyclables from the landfill.
Because the legal notice for the town meeting only included the section of the ordinance regarding fee increases, Section 15-23, and not sections describing the process of selling metals (Section 15-24), scavenging rights (Section 15-25), and prohibiting commercial collectors (Section 15-26), the issue was tabled.
As of Jan. 3, there has not been a scheduled Town Meeting to vote in increased fees and changes policies.