DARIEN, Conn. – Darien is considering its options on offsetting some of the costs of the Darien transfer station. As use of the dump has declined, the town has subsidized its costs out of the general fund.
The revenue generated by the transfer station is much lower than cost of operating it, Public Works Director Bob Steeger said. As a result, the town is paying $350,000 a year out of its general fund to operate the transfer station. He expects it to reach $400,000 in the next couple of years.
Use of the transfer station has steadily declined in recent years. Steeger predicts that in the 2012 fiscal year, the amount of municipal solid waste dumped will max out at 4,300 tons, about 1,000 tons less than the previous year.
Because of the high cost of the commercial tipping fees, commercial haulers have been taking waste to other municipalities or to Bridgeport. Darien charges $94 a ton; Wilton, $93; Stamford, $88; Westport, $85; Norwalk, $82; and New Canaan, $80.
One option Steeger has suggested for reducing the town subsidy is pay-as-you-throw, in which residents would pay based on how much they throw away. But that is a more complicated process and would require more monitoring at the station, he said.
Another option is to charge residents a separate fee for each individual sticker, the way it does with beach permits, instead of having residents pay one fee for multiple dump stickers like they do now.
The Board of Selectmen has discussed raising residential permit fees and having every resident pay a fee as part of their taxes. The board will continue to look at its options.