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Salem selectmen approve town landfill fee increases

SALEM — Some fees at the town landfill will be going up, but not as much as originally proposed by the town manager.

Earlier this week, selectmen approved increasing the landfill permit decal for residents, the fee to dispose of electronic items, and the per ton trash rate for residential haulers at the landfill.

The resident landfill decal will now cost $15, the first increase in more than three decades. Town Manager Keith Hickey initially proposed raising the decal fee to $20.

“The transfer station decal has been $10 since 1980,” said Hickey. “It was calculated on the assumption that the typical household disposes of a half-ton of waste per year.”

In 1980, the cost to the town to dispose of one ton of trash was $20, according to Hickey. Now, it is just over $80.

Selectman Stephen Campbell noted that the $80 rate does not calculate for recycling, which is a lower disposal fee for the town.

Campbell and Selectman Everett McBride voted against any increase in the decal fee.

“My opinion is that I’m not looking to increase fees on households,” said Campbell. “People are paying enough in taxes.”

Selectmen also voted to increase the electronic item disposal fee from $5 to $10. Department of Public Works Director Rick Russell said that on average, it costs about $17 to dispose of the average-sized electronic device.

After several motions, the selectmen voted to increase the disposal fee for residential haulers from $30 to $42 per ton, well short of the $80.20 per ton proposed by Hickey and the town staff.

“On the hauler fee, we need to raise that, but I don’t support $80.20, that’s for sure,” said Selectman James Keller.

Selectman Mike Lyons proposed raising the hauler fee to $60 per ton, but that motion failed by a 4-1 vote.

Keller’s motion to raise the fee to $42 per ton passed by a 3-2 vote, with Campbell and McBride voting against the increase.

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