Fees hiked for town services

Written by Administrator
 | Tuesday, 01 September 2009 20:00

In Duxbury, the costs to dispose of a mattress at the transfer station, eat a meal at the Senior Center, or obtain a gun license at the police department all have something in common: they have just gotten more expensive.

At a public hearing Monday, Duxbury selectmen raised fees on certain items and services in six town departments. They also approved a new 32-page fee book that lists the fee schedule for all town government departments.

Residents trying to dispose of mattresses, box springs and upholstered furniture such as couches at the transfer station will face a $10 per item fee beginning Sept. 16.

Since disposing of mattresses and other upholstered items costs the town money, Department of Public Works Director Peter Buttkus felt it was time to pass these costs on to residents.

“We are one of the few towns that does not charge for mattresses and we probably have more mattresses coming into the transfer station than we have people in town,” said Buttkus.

The new fees can be paid by check or credit card at the construction and demolition debris area of the transfer station.

The cost to eat a meal at the Senior Center will rise by one dollar beginning Oct. 1. For a resident senior meal, the new charge will be $5. Non-seniors and non-residents will pay $6. Council on Aging director Joanne Moore said signs have been posted at the Senior Center already alerting diners of the increased costs.

The new fee for a gun license obtained at the police station will increase from $25 to $100 to reflect changes in the state law. Of this fee, the town receives $25 and the state gets $75.The charge for a gun license photograph has been eliminated.

Certain fire department fees for inspecting alarm systems will also increase. The new rate for a residential fire alarm system inspection rose $10 to $35 and doubled to $100 for a commercial alarm system inspection. A final residential inspection permit went up from $50 to $100. These are effective Sept. 16.

Effective Oct. 1, the new price for a cremation will be $250, a $20 increase. Cemetery director Trish Pappas requested the October starting date to give the companies who use the town’s crematory enough time to process the change.

Selectmen also approved two new fees for the Inspectional Services Department. These include a $35 charge for a trench permit and $55 permit for a farmer’s market food vendor who sells processed food. These foods, prepared off-site and brought into the market, must be inspected by the town’s health agent.

Selectmen were pleased with the new fee book assembled by town manager’s administrative assistant Barbara Ripley. It brings together all fees listed by town department in a comprehensive indexed report.

Before voting to accept the new fee book, Selectman Jon Witten said he wanted the town to take a closer look at some of the fees used by committees that oversee land development. Witten said he felt the fees charged to developers were “disproportionately low” when compared to everyday fees charged to residents.

“We’re subsidizing outside development at tax payer expense,” said Witten.

Selectmen agreed to examine these costs at a later date.