Hike in Darien Tipping Fees Sparks Loss of Large Customer, Added Charges

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DARIEN – The town’s Department of Public Works raised solid waste fees at its transfer station last month leading directly to the loss of one large customer and additional charges for some residents.

Keith Pensiero, owner of Darien Disposal, told CT Examiner that he planned to continue to dump at the local transfer station, but the rise in fees led him to Win Waste in Stamford instead.

“We have other options, and they’re just a little less money right now,” Pensiero said. “We bring in a lot of tonnage, so every dollar counts.”

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The Darien Board of Selectmen voted for the Oct. 1 fee increase – from $94 per ton to $118 – on the advice of Edward Gentile Jr., the town’s director of public works. At the September meeting, Gentile told board members that the transfer station was running at a deficit.

According to Gentile, the planned closing of the MIRA incinerator in Hartford led disposal companies to Darien, where the transfer station took in over 2,000 additional tons compared to 2021. In addition, Win Waste was charging Darien $5 more dollars a ton than the town charged private haulers. 

Gentile’s proposal estimated about $48,000 in additional revenue. But without Darien Disposal, one of the town’s largest customers, that projection may change.

Pensiero told CT Examiner that the company would continue to service its Darien customers, but pricing would change by the start of 2023.

“We are going to definitely increase our rates,” Pensiero said.

With the fluctuating price of fuel, Pensiero said he was unsure of the new rate. He said that Darien Disposal would calculate the increase on fuel prices after the upcoming midterm election.

A town employee, requesting anonymity, told CT Examiner that the majority of the transfer station’s solid waste weight previously came from Darien Disposal, but the town still had smaller disposal companies using the transfer station.

But with the increase in tipping fees, those smaller companies were increasing their fees as well.

In a Monday email to customers, Tom Conte Garbage announced that it would raise their rates by $4 a month effective Dec. 1 due to the surprise municipal increase – the company said they were given 10 days notice about the increase.

In addition to the fee increase for commercial disposal, the fee for residential dump permits rose from $40 to $50 – but a town employee told CT Examiner that the transfer station still had the same number of cars coming.

“It’s a wealthy town, and if you want something done, you pay for it,” the employee said. “And I think the populace totally understands why it’s going up.”