The Saugerties Town Board has decided to drastically cut back the town’s transfer station hours in 2016 from five to two days a week and end its contract with the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (RRA) in a bid to save money.
Town Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel said the decision was due to “spiraling” RRA costs that the board expected would continue during the five-year period of the new contract. The town will instead contract with a private hauler, which also provides the roll-off containers.
One full-time and one part-time position would be eliminated under the plan. According to the town budget adopted Nov. 18, spending for “refuse and garbage” will be cut from $399,319 in 2015 to $363,317 in 2016.
Helsmoortel was unable to say how many residents or businesses would be affected by the cutbacks.
Starting Jan. 1, the transfer station will be open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., effective Jan. 1. Currently, it’s open Tuesday through Saturday.
The reduced hours will also affect Woodstockers who use the facility. Woodstock Town Board member Bill McKenna said the board had discussed the possibility of cutbacks or closure at a recent meeting, but the issue hadn’t stirred much noticeable concern.
“Most people I know say they’ll be going to the Hurley dump,” especially anyone who traveled regularly to the Kingston area, he said.
The RRA currently holds contracts with 19 municipalities, according to executive director Tim Rose. Four other municipalities — the towns of Ulster, Marbletown and Marlboro together with the city of Kingston — have decided to not renew their contracts with the agency, he said.
The impact on the RRA’s bottom line will be small, Rose said; the fees associated with the RRA comprise roughly eight percent of its $13 million budget. All refuse still must pass through the RRA due to the county’s “flow control” law; the contract is just for who will do the hauling from customer to the dump in Kingston.
The transfer station is used by a range of residents, most of whom drive pickups. Contractors use it to dispose of loose debris, as do residents who find it’s cheaper to pay by the truckload or bag than to contract monthly with a private hauler. Permits are $30 a year, and per-bag fees range from $1 to $7, depending on size. Others, who may only visit a transfer station once or twice in a lifetime, pay one-time fees to dispose of old appliances and other items a garbage hauler won’t take.