WINCHESTER - In an effort to save money, the Winchester Select Board chose to implement a summer trial period for new hours at the Transfer Station on McKay Avenue. Board members favored an option that cuts back hours on Thursday to 3 - 7 p.m. only (previous hours were 12 - 7 p.m.).
Town Manager Lisa Wong first wondered about cutting back hours on Tuesday; however, Tuesday is the second busiest day after Saturday (the Transfer Station is closed on Sunday and Monday so residents who miss Saturday can’t use the Transfer Station until Tuesday; except in the fall when it’s open on Sundays). She suggested Tuesday evening hours to save on overtime. Wong added cutting back four hours of overtime (or six hours of regular time) would save $50,000.
The Town Manager also proposed cutting either Thursday or Saturday hours. With Saturday being the busiest day, however, that idea made little sense. Norman Doucette, Transfer Station Coordinator, said most people come on Saturdays between 3 and 4 p.m.
Select Board member Michael Bettencourt suggested more seasonal hours, which would see the Transfer Station open more often in the fall (for leaf disposal) and less often in the summer. DPW Director Jay Gill noted a $20 increase in the Transfer Station sticker fee could have similar results as cutting back hours. It would start next January if the board chose to go in that direction, but they didn’t seem to favor forcing residents to pay more. Even Gill himself asked the board to cut back hours before they raised prices.
At this point Wong proposed a summer trial period and offered two options, one being shortening hours on Thursday to 3 - 7 p.m. Select Board member Amy Shapiro said that option made the most sense.
The board will revisit this issue in the fall, sometime in late September.
Even though the board agreed to change the hours of operation on Thursday, Bettencourt didn’t particularly favor cutting service. He inquired about raising hauler fees from the current prince of $105/ton. According to Gill, Winchester is on the lower end of hauler costs.
“We’ll be looking at all options,” Gill noted.