NEWBURY — It wasn't a sting operation, but when Newbury's town administrator recently spent the day at the transfer station and documented 77 vehicles using the facility without a permit, it certainly could have been.
The town of Newbury was out as much as $13,000-plus in potential revenue from these users without permits.
"I was dismayed to see that the majority of people using the facility did not have a valid permit sticker," said Tracy Blais, who worked at the transfer station on Boston Road last Saturday with the permission of the Board of Health.
In the eight hours she was there, Blais said she collected more than $7,000 in fees for transfer stickers from people who did not have valid permits to use the facility.
Those without a sticker were allowed to use the facility that day only, with the caveat that they would be turned away if they showed up again without a permit.
"We will be very carefully screening to be sure visitors to the station have current stickers before allowing any drop-off of items," said Alba Gouldthorpe, chairwoman of the Board of Health, which oversees the transfer station. "We have been lenient with this in years past, but the town is in dire straits economically now, and we need to ensure full payment before allowing use of the station."
Newbury does not have curbside trash pickup. The transfer station at 75 Boston Road has areas delineated for regular household trash, recyclable items and bulk items, such as tables, chairs and other larger pieces, some of which require extra disposal fees.
Permits for use of the transfer station run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Fees this year are $175, $85 for those over age 65. Stickers, which must be affixed on the lower corner of the car's driver's-side windshield, can be purchased at Town Hall. A list of bulk items and the associated fees for disposal is available at the Newbury police station.
The transfer station is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Gouldthorpe said the center could open again on Wednesdays if a senior or other volunteer comes forward to monitor activity. The board would be seeking someone who would be "adamant about turning people around if they don't have a current sticker or if they were dumping inappropriate items," she said.
Gouldthorpe and Ron Toleos, the town's recycling coordinator, remind residents of the importance of dropping off recyclables, which earn the town money. The town's recycling vendor, Empire Inc. of Braintree, has enabled the station to accept more items, which has reduced the volume of trash and increased recycling revenue, they said.
For more information about the trash or recycling program in Newbury, call Ron Toleos at 978-465-0862, ext. 316.