BELGRADE — Residents wanting to unload old tires, broken freezers and outdated computers will no longer have to wait for the twice-a-year dumping day to get rid of their junk for free.

The town is rolling out a punch-card system in April to allow residents to drop off a limited number of bulky items throughout the year free of charge.

The Board of Selectpersons approved the change at its Tuesday night meeting.

Town Manager Greg Gill said the change is in response to complaints, especially among summer residents and others who work weekends, about being unable to attend the two free drop-off days held on Saturdays in the spring and fall.

The cards will have a list of the types of items that can be disposed of at the transfer station with a coordinating photo on the opposite side for people who can’t read English, Gill said.

The cards will be distributed with numbered vehicle stickers matching the punch cards for access to the transfer station and are valid for two years.

When a resident drops off something like a couch or refrigerator, a transfer station employee will punch a hole in the card to show the resident has used up that option.

Gill said residents will be able to pick up their cards and stickers starting April 1. The list of households used to make sure only one goes to each home will be from the property assessing system, so renters will need a letter from the landlord confirming the residence, Gill said.

The $3,000 cost of the cards and stickers will come out of the transfer station’s capital reserve account, according to Gill.

He said some were concerned for people with small cars who may need to use a different vehicle to transport large items. In that case, the resident would need to be present with the card.

Gill said it’s modeled after the town of Greene’s system, which started a little over two years ago.

Greene started a punch-card system after observing excessive dumping by residents, as well as use of the transfer station by out-of-towners, said Charlie Noonan, town manager of Greene.

He said they suspected some residents were bringing in other people’s waste when transfer station attendants noticed people dropping off several of the same type of object.

“We found it interesting that someone would go through four refrigerators in one year,” he said.

He said they haven’t had any issues with the system, which — along with more stringent management — has saved the town around 20 percent of the total solid waste disposal costs each year.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

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