Letter: Council has handled transfer station issue poorly

Posted 11/6/23

To the editor:

I also attended the 3.5-hour meeting of the Portsmouth Town Council on Oct. 23. I will not review the excellent points made by Jim Moore in this paper’s Nov. 2 publication. …

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Letter: Council has handled transfer station issue poorly

Posted

To the editor:

I also attended the 3.5-hour meeting of the Portsmouth Town Council on Oct. 23. I will not review the excellent points made by Jim Moore in this paper’s Nov. 2 publication. There are several points I would like to make. 

The “white paper” referred to frequently by the council members was never widely published other than on the town website. The council chose to let Portsmouth citizens know about this white paper by publicizing its existence in the Newport Daily News, rather than in The Portsmouth Times. 

They frequently referenced the fact that there were only 56 comments, possibly the only 56 people who subscribe to the Daily News, of which I am one. It was highly inappropriate to solicit comments on something so important to the town in a paper to which most people cannot access freely. Most people do not routinely access the town website and to constantly defend their actions by saying “it’s on the town website” is unacceptable. 

I am one of the 80 percent of town residents who do not/nor ever had children in the school system and have never complained about the amount of tax money allocated to the school system and I have been here for 40-plus years. Sticker sales broken out by $260 and $250 sales provide the town with roughly $566,000. Add in bag purchase of two bags per week at $1.25 each (minimum) for 52 weeks, yields another $303,000. Certainly, enough to be self-sustaining. Assuming correct calculations sticker owners pay roughly $400 yearly. Curbside pickup will easily cost more even assuming price increases. 

Many may have missed the comment by Mr. Rainer at the meeting stating that stickers purchased for 2024 would be for 18 months, increasing the price and presupposing the transfer station will close. This would indicate the mindset of the council. Also, not acceptable.

The council is also looking to add in the “soft costs” of operation of the station (sticker prep and sales, etc). That is ridiculous; sticker sales also go for beach access. Who pays soft costs for dog licenses? It would appear the council is doing everything in their power to make the transfer station look financially not feasible. 

Others have brought up the point that there should have been a third RFP put out for continuation of the transfer station. I heartily agree. The council should have done a much better job of publicizing their vote in May to go with only option 1 and 2 (basically closing it). The council frequently stated they were not closing the transfer station, but by going with only option 1 and 2, what else would one infer?

This whole situation has been poorly handled by the council and voters should remember this.

JoAnne Emerson 

19 Lepes

Portsmouth

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