The installation of a new, state-of-the-art scale is moving forward at the Durham-Middlefield transfer station, a project that will shift the burden of trash costs from the town (or taxpayers) to individuals.
"The goal is to have the scale operational by no later than November 1," Dom DelVecchio, chairmain of the Durham Middlefield Interlocal Agreement Advisory Board (DMIAAB), said during the board's most recent meeting last month.
Recent heavy rains may push back the date a few weeks.
Initally, the scale will be used only to weigh demolition debris, which is currently measured in cubic yards. By weighing the material, the town can more accurately measure the true cost of disposing of it.
"Obviously not everyone is happy with it, but it's a fair process," explained DelVecchio, who said the towns lose between $30,000 to $40,000 annually under the current system.
DMIAAB has yet to work out a fee schedule for the scale, but DelVecchio said it's likely that visitors will pay about $7 per 100 pounds of debris, or a flat fee of $7 for debris under 100 pounds.
DMIAAB recently awarded the contract to install the scale to the lowest bidder, Fairbanks Scales, a company headquartered in Kansas City, MO.
The scale and installation will cost $87,018, part of which will be paid for using DMIAAB's capitol improvements budget. Site improvements will cost an additional $80,000 to $100,000, according to DelVecchio, who said DMIAAB is working to secure a loan to pay for the remainder of the project.
"The money that we're saving, we'd recapture to pay down the [loan] at no additional cost to the town."
Public works employees from both Durham and Middlefield have been helping with the site improvements to keep costs down as well, he said.
"It's a big investment, but it's a worthwhile investment."