Disposal fees increase along with costs

Enterprise file photo — Melissa Hale-Spencer

Sal Tassone stands on a step ladder to spread the contents of a recycling bin at the Guilderland transfer station.

GUILDERLAND — “I hate to do it but our costs have just grown tremendously,” foreman David Corey told the town board last week as he presented a new fee schedule for the transfer station.

The board approved the fees, which were last increased in November 2018.

The cost for disposing of demolition debris is going from $130 to $135 per ton.

The cost of tire disposal is going from $5 to $6 for cars and light trucks, from $25 to $30 for tractor-trailer tires, and from $50 to $60 for large tires such as those from loaders or farm tractors.

Finally, disposing of televisions will cost $20 per set instead of the former $15. Best Buy, Corey noted in a memo to Supervisor Peter Barber, charges $29.99 per set and has a limit.

“We had someone bring in 14,” Corey told the town board.

He stressed that disposal is solely for Guilderland residents.

Corey suggested it was better to raise fees incrementally, every year or every other year, rather than waiting years and having a huge jump.

However, he said he doesn’t want to raise the fees for seniors getting rid of their household garbage, which has been the same for 10 years. Seniors are charged $6 and residents younger than seniors are charged $7.

There is no limit on how much residents can bring in their vehicles to the transfer station to recycle and dispose of waste.

The biggest increases, other than for disposal costs, are for maintenance. Corey said of parts, “Everything has doubled or tripled in costs.”

Corey said he sets the fees just to balance out the costs and added, “We’re still not really covering our costs.”

The new fees go into effect on Nov. 1.


Other business

In other business, the Guilderland Town Board at its Oct. 18 meeting:

— Held two hearings, at which no members of the public commented, before setting sewer rates. Because of a combination of retiring debts bringing costs down while costs for electricity and gas are increasing, the rates are nearly steady, said Barber, noting a decrease in the overall sewer rate of “four pennies”;

— Heard a complaint from Robyn Gray that a development review committee meeting wasn’t posted on the calendar. “That’s a huge issue when you’ve got a 70-unit subdivision,” said Gray.

“It should have been on the calendar,” said Berber, calling it an oversight; he noted a Nixle alert was sent out about the meeting.

Gray said it is a disservice to the public that the committee meets in the daytime when working people cannot attend.

“It’s town staff … That’s their work hours ….,” said Barber. “The public is invited,” he said, adding, “We are running out of days we can have meetings … even if I wanted to order town staff overtime.”

Gray then asked that the development review committee meetings be videotaped, saying, “If you want the public to be aware and participate, you’ve got to make it more accessible”;

— Agreed to waive the building fees for structural damages of a home at 202 Stanford Drive caused by a tree falling;

— Approved an agreement with M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying to serve as consultants for updating Guilderland’s comprehensive plan as long as four changes are made to the contract.

Two were errors from copying a boilerplate document — the contract said Stephentown instead of Guilderland, and Saratoga County instead of Albany County — while two were more substantive. Barber said the scope of MJ’s work should incorporate the document the firm submitted to be “more specific as to what tasks are.”

And Councilwoman Christine Napierski said that, when MJ was interviewed for the job, the understanding was that compensation would be for a set amount. “I thought this was a flat rate ….,” she said. “They gave us a price and they have to live with it”;

— Agreed for the second amendment to a lease the town has with T-Mobile Northeast LLC for use of its Fort Hunter water tank. The lease started in 1997 and was first amended in 2009.

The lease will automatically be extended for five additional five-year terms. The base rent is set at $1,917.23 per month with an 8-percent escalator, which will increase rent on the first day of each renewal term.

T-Mobile was originally seeking a lower rent of $1,700 per month but the town was able to negotiate a higher base rent, James Melita, the town attorney, wrote in a memo to Barber.

Melita told the board that “it’s been a trend” for cellphone companies to try to negotiate down. “We’re trying to negotiate up,” said Melita, noting the town had some leverage because the T-Mobile equipment is already on the tower; and

— Approved an agreement with Colonie to provide water and sewer services to properties on Railroad Avenue, a sliver of the town on the far side of Albany’s panhandle.

Barber said the agreement has been in place since 1976 and that Colonie also provides fire protection to the Railroad Avenue area

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