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01/14/2023 TSC Minutes

2155 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH 03574

Draft January 14, 2023 Minutes of Transfer Station Committee Meeting


Present at Town Hall were Chris Jensen, Margaret Gale, Nancy Strand, Julie Seely,and Barry Zitser.  Betsey Phillips had previously notified Nancy that she is resigning from the Committee. The meeting commenced at 10:08 A.M. Barry volunteered to take the minutes.


There was no public input, although several members of the public had zoomed into the meeting.


Chris described the two responses that were received in response to the Request for Proposals from Aries Engineering (AE) and Sanborn Head (SH).  He noted the bid prices, but that SH had included several options in their fee estimate which were not required to be part of any final contract if SH were the successful bidder.


Julie noted that SH’s proposal. in its Optional Task 1, to review the Town’s solid waste and recycling tonnage data recorded during the previous five (5) years from the NCES transfer station filings would be of limited value. She also noted that there is tonnage data from the 2009-2012 period when the Town had assumed responsibility for its solid waste management.


Barry noted that Andrea had sent him an email, expressing her preference for AE.  She noted that AE has done prior business with the Town and that having an established working relationship is an important factor.  She believes that AE included a better package in their proposal with good emphasis in creating a modern transfer station.  She did not like some of SH’s optional costs.


Barry stated that the Request for Proposals reserved the right of the Town to accept portions of bids, as opposed to the full bid, and that SH would be agreeable to performing the work without the three options. Without SH’s options, its bid of $28,900 is only slightly higher than AE’s bid of $28,000.  However, Barry expressed his agreement with Andrea that an important factor in determining a responsible bidder is whether the bidder has previously performed satisfactory work for the Town, and also had a good, established working relationship. Barry also noted that SH was recently selected by the Town of Tamworth for the Town’s final engineering plan, a much more detailed plan with a much higher cost.


Julie expressed her preference for AE, even though she noted that she was not familiar with its partner, H.L. Turner Group, Inc.


Margaret noted she does not have good experience with requests for proposals. She inquired as to the reliability of the tonnage figures from the NCES transfer station, as well as the Town’s figures during the 2009-2012 period.  Barry noted that although most of the solid waste and recyclables collected at the transfer station are from Bethlehem residents, some may be from non-Bethlehem residents and businesses.  Julie noted that NCES has made some efforts in recent years to reduce use of the transfer station by non-residents.  Julie further noted that the tonnage figures during the Town’s management of its solid waste in 2009-2012 did include the curbside pick-up by the Village District.


Margaret also questioned whether there would be substantial reductions from transitioning to a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) system, without increased littering.  Barry noted that national figures show perhaps a 40% reduction from such a transition, and believes that Concord, NH had achieved a substantial reduction in solid waste after it transitioned to a PAYT system. Julie noted that when people are sensitive to cost, they tend to use and waste less, giving the example of utility costs.


Barry praised Mary Moritz and the Town Select Board members who worked to obtain bids that could meet a tight time schedule.  He noted that he had contacted the engineer who performed Tamworth’s conceptual design and cost estimate for grant purposes.  The engineer had taken approximately six months to perform the work, and he currently has business that would preclude doing a new conceptual design and cost estimate.


Chris briefly reviewed SH’s fee schedule attached to the bid.  He noted that SH  fee estimate would be a commitment, absent change orders or extraordinary events.  Chris also verified that AE had done good work for the Town.


Nancy noted that she did not simply look at cost, but also considered  reputation and scope of work. She believes the qualifications of both firms are good, but that AE had a better description of the scope of work.


Barry made the following motion:


The Transfer Station Committee (Committee) recommends that the Select Board accept the request for proposal submitted by Aries Engineering for concept plans and an engineering cost estimate for a modern transfer station at the Route 116 site.  While the Committee believes that both bidders have the qualifications to perform the work in the Request for Proposals, its judgment is that Aries has submitted the lowest, responsible bid, both as to price and its prior good work and working relationship with the Town.


The motion was seconded by Chris and unanimously adopted.


There were praises by Committee members for the work performed by Barry, Chris, Mary Moritz and Nicole McGrath.


Nancy noted Betsey’s resignation and desire to be taken off the service list.  Nancy also noted that Betsey has a greater passion to be on the Conservation Commission.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:42AM.