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Jessie Levine
Town Manager
New London, NH

July 7, 2010

What a beautiful Fourth of July weekend! I climbed to the top of Mount Kearsarge with friends on Saturday night to watch the sunset and the panorama of fireworks – something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Bring a jacket for the top and a headlamp for the descent, though don’t be afraid to turn it off periodically to experience the dark, silent beauty of a New Hampshire night.

Unfortunately, the weekend was not good to everybody. Our thoughts are with the owners of Twin Lake Village and the families who lost their belongings while on vacation this week, as a fire burned down one of TLV’s year-round homes in Springfield. Although the building could not be saved, the mutual aid cooperation of 12 area fire departments was commendable and comforting.  

It is going to be a stifling hot week and we expect the beaches to be packed. These are the steamy crowded days that generate the most complaints to the Police Department and Town Office. For the safety and enjoyment of all involved, please obey beach rules and parking regulations. If you are a New London resident or property owner and you do not have a current parking sticker or temporary pass, please visit the Town Clerk’s Office to get one. And please help us deter vandalism by reporting any unusual activity that you see at the beaches, especially at night.

Summer being the busiest time for yard sales and property transfers, we have received a number of inquiries about proper disposal of household hazardous waste. It is true that due to budget cuts, for the second year in a row the Town of New London is not holding a household hazardous waste collection, nor are we participating as a town in one of the regional collections.

However, there are three opportunities for our residents to participate in regional hazardous waste collections at their own expense. Collections will be held from 9:00 AM until noon on Saturday, July 17 and Saturday, September 25 at the Lebanon Solid Waste facility on Route 12A, and closer by on Saturday, August 28, at the Newbury Highway Garage. This year, the collections will also accept unwanted prescription medicines, which should never be flushed down a toilet or poured down a drain, which could contaminate area drinking water supplies.

The regional collections are organized by the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission (UVLSRPC). Please note that the collections are intended for household (i.e., residential) hazardous waste. Large scale disposals, such as from commercial businesses, schools, or other large institutions, must register at least two weeks in advance of the collection and also must pay for all disposal costs. If you are in that category, please call Vickie Davis at the UVLSRPC at 448-1680.

Further details about the collections, including fees, instructions and a helpful list of what is considered hazardous (and what can be disposed of in other ways), are on a flyer available at the Town Office, Transfer Station, and on our website at www.nl-nh.com. In addition, a guide to disposal of common wastes is on the website of the Upper Valley Household Hazardous Waste Committee (www.uvhhw.org). 

The impact to the Town budget for the disposal of individual household hazardous waste would be about $9,000 per year, which amounts to about $3.50 per year on the median tax bill. In 2006, when New London last hosted a collection, 212 households participated, at a cost of a little over $40 per participating household. In 2007, 116 New London households participated in the collection held in Sunapee, and in 2008, only 19 households participated.

In all three years, the cost of the hazardous waste collection was borne not just by the participating households, but by all of the non-participating households as well.  Should all taxpayers continue to pay for a service that is used by a diminishing number of households?  Some would say yes -- holding a town-wide household hazardous waste collection benefits the greater good, as allowing for the proper disposal of hazardous waste keeps it out of the landfills, woods, and public water supplies.

On the other hand, one of the theories behind pay-as-you-throw trash disposal is that it will affect consumer habits and lead to informed and responsible purchasing decisions (the UVHHW website also gives a number of alternative non-toxic recipes for many hazardous household cleaners).

The question of “who should pay?” will be asked – and hopefully answered -- as we explore pay-as-you-throw options and other budget reduction measures. How should we pay for trash disposal? Should people and businesses be responsible for the trash they generate, or should trash be a collective expense? Should people who own land (but not buildings) in New London be allowed to use the Transfer Station?

The question can be applied to other services as well. Who should pay for recreation? Should taxpayers underwrite staff for programs that are being used by residents from other towns? Should people who own waterfront homes have to subsidize others’ use of the public beaches and boating programs? Should people who have seasonal homes on private roads have to pay for winter clearing of public roads? Should those who live on paved roads have to pay for the paving of gravel roads? Should seasonal residents have to pay for the education of our children? And, for that matter, should we have to pay for the education of children who live in other towns?

I wish there were a perfect formula, but that is what the public forum is for – you decide! Please join us during the budget process this year as we tackle these and other questions.

 

Jessie Levine, Town Administrator
375 Main Street
New London, NH 03257

townadmin@nl-nh.com
Phone:
603-526-4821 extension 13
Fax: 603-526-9494

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