12/13/2022 TSC Minutes
TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
2155 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH 03574
December 13, 2022 Minutes of Transfer Station Committee Meeting
Present at the Library were Chris Jensen, Margaret Gale, Nancy Strand, Julie Seely, Barry Zitser, Betsey Phillips, and Katherine Darges. The meeting commenced at 6:35 PM. There was no public input.
There was a discussion on recommending that the March warrants include a proposed contribution to the Capital Reserve Fund. Last year’s vote on a $20,000 addition passed by a margin of almost 2 to 1. Given the possible need to begin making some planning expenditures from the fund, it was suggested that a larger contribution be proposed for 2023. A $40,000 contribution would have a tax impact of 13.9 cents per $1,000 of assessments. Barry made a motion that the Committee recommend to the Select Board that there be a warrant requesting the voters to approve a contribution of $35,000. It was seconded and unanimously adopted.
Chris filled in the Committee about last night’s Select Board meeting discussion about going forward with a request for proposals for an engineering study to provide a conceptual design and cost estimate for a modern transfer station on the Route 116 site that was formerly used for a brief period of time. In order to provide the opportunity to meet an April of 2023 deadline for submitting an application for a Community Facilities grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Select Board authorized going forward with such a request for proposals, subject to the approval of the Committee. Chris was encouraged by the video conference that he and Barry had with the regional head of the USDA, and believes there is a reasonable chance of receiving some grant moneys. He also indicated that the regional head encouraged the Town to make its application in April, if at all possible. Given this tight time constraint, Chris asked Barry to draft a request for proposals, which Nicole had forwarded to the Committee members. The Committee decided to go forward with a request for proposals and made changes to the initial draft, such as including proposed due dates, giving some flexibility to potential bidders to view the property, insuring that proposals conform to applicable New Hampshire regulations, and expressing the desire to include and preserve certain options. Upon finalizing the request for proposals, Chris stated he would work with the Administration on seeking responses from responsible and interested contractors.
Due to the amount of time devoted to the request for proposals, and the inability of Katherine’s computer to print out some items forwarded to her by Barry, the working session on transfer station needs was postponed to the next meeting. Nancy will insure that Katherine gets a printout of the items forwarded by Barry.
Barry provided an update on the appeal of the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) before the Waste Management Council which is challenging the Stage VI NCES landfill expansion permit. On December 9th, CLF filed an objection to the landfill operator’s request for a rehearing, noting, among other things, that the request for a rehearing was untimely and without merit. On December 8th The Record had an article on the recent Casella hauling rate increase. In the article there was the following statement by Mr. Joe Fusco, a Casella spokesperson: “As for the Waste Management Council, we will be appealing the WMC hearing officer’s faulty decision on Monday, so the company is making no changes in response to it” (referring to the Bethlehem landfill operations). Barry stated that as of the morning of the Committee’s meeting he had contacted the Merrimack Superior Court, but to the Court’s knowledge, an appeal had not yet been filed.
Barry provided an update on the webinars provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), describing its two new recycling grant programs. He explained how these grants are different than the USDA Community Facilities grant that is the subject of the request for proposals. The EPA grants were provided under the bipartisan infrastructure law. One would fund recycling education programs, while the other would provide funding for recycling facilities and equipment. Barry indicated that neither of these grants would reasonably be available to Bethlehem for the coming year for the following reasons. Both have a deadline of January 15th to complete a very complex application with very high minimum amounts, as well as a short time (3 years) for completing the expenditure of funds. It is anticipated that only 25 entities throughout the country would be granted a recycling education grant, which has a minimum application amount of $250,000. Such conditions would make this educational grant more appropriate for a regional organization, such as the Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA). If NRRA, however, successfully applies for such a grant, then perhaps an NRRA program might include some benefits that would be available to its member towns, such as Bethlehem. The Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling grant program has a minimum application amount of $500,000, and also anticipates only about 25 entities nationwide receiving grants. While a Town, such as Tamworth might meet the minimum conditions to apply, as of the today’s meeting, Tamworth had not made a decision as to whether to submit an application. Nevertheless, Barry suggested that these EPA funding programs should be considered for future years, since they have been granted annual authorizations through 2026.
The November 15, 2022 minutes were approved after some minor word corrections, and the deletion of one sentence concerning “logistics” on page 3. Nancy mentioned that we should check to see that Nicole is receiving copies of our approved minutes.
Under other business, there was a discussion about including a Committee Report in the Town’s 2022 Annual Report. It was determined that there was sufficient time to approve such a Report at the Committee’s next meeting. Barry stated that he would forward his draft for such a Report to the Committee members through Nicole. Barry also raised the issue of whether the Committee should create its own transfer station website on the Town’s website. He stated that the Transfer Station Improvement Committee of the Town of Tamworth has a beautiful site on their Town’s website. He also noted that perhaps other Bethlehem committees and commissions might desire to have their own sites on the Town’s website. Chris stated he would check into whether this is a possibility.
The next meeting date was set for January 17th. Chris volunteered to take the minutes at that meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 PM.