The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a 67% increase to annual sticker fees at the dump, a move designed to bring New Canaan more closely aligned with surrounding towns and help recoup what it pays to get rid of household garbage.
The fee increase, from $45 to $75, is expected to apply to about one-quarter to one-third of New Canaan’s approximately 7,000 households, since those using private haulers will pay the existing rate, officials said. That includes people living in apartment or condominium complexes who pay for master haulers through rent or other charges, officials said.
The average New Canaan household produces about 1.5 tons of garbage per year, and that figure likely will go up amid the COVID-19 emergency as more people are eating at home, Public Works Director Tiger Mann told the selectmen during their regular meeting, held via videoconference.
With New Canaan paying $90 per ton to haul the garbage away, that means the town is paying out about $135 per residence against a fee of $45 for stickers, he said.
“So the thought is to try and chew at that apple a little bit and bring us up just slightly to $75 a permit and try to keep us closer in line with surrounding towns,” Mann said.
Darien charges $125 annually for its permits, while Wilton charges $4.50 per bag “which is much higher,” he said.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted in favor of the new rate as part of a larger slate of revised Public Works-related fees.
The higher sticker fee could generate up to about $60,000 more for the town per year, Mann said. Together with other new and higher fees approved by the selectmen, New Canaan stands to take in hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue.
Some of the larger items under include a new “drainage policy review” fee of $500 that could generate $30,000 annually based on 2018 estimates, a $5 per-ton increase to the “tipping fee” that haulers pay to bring solid waste to the dump ($19,000) and a change in the way residents are charged for bringing brush and construction debris to the dump ($30,000).
The changes are expected to take effect with the new fiscal year starting July 1. The town also is upping its storm drain connection fee from $100 to $250, and sewer connection permit fee from $200 to $300.
According to Mann, the dump sticker fee had been established in 2005 at $25, was dropped in 2007, and then re-established at $40 in 2009. In July 2015, the fee went up to $45, he said.
The new fees include a change in how the town charges for bringing brush and construction debris to the dump. As it is, it’s free for those with a Transfer Station sticker to dump the first 300 pounds of material. Yet resident are taking advantage of the system, Mann said, by making multiple trips in a single day with just under 300 pounds of debris.
“We have people that are coming in at 290 pounds and then people come across the scale and throw things off so that they are under 300 and then they come across,” he said. “So we are trying to be consistent for everyone and consistent with the towns surrounding us as far as that goes.”
Under the new system, New Canaan would start charging a standard rate of $100 per ton for brush and $125 per ton for construction debris as soon as the material comes in to the Lakeview Avenue facility.
Devereaux asked whether it would be possible to give residents up to 300 pounds free per day.
Moynihan noted that other municipal bodies already have discussed charging for the debris after town officials broached the possibility earlier in the year.
“We heard these proposed when we heard from Tiger in January and other boards have looked at these, so I really would hate to make changes today, other than not approving the fee,” Moynihan said.
He added that residents “are simply going to be charged for their actual usage.”