Facility Upgrades Information

FIWMD is in the process of gathering pertinent information for the public to study regarding our research and planning facilities upgrades. In the meantime, below is some important information.

In 1993 Fishers Island Waste Management District hired engineers to study the waste needs of Fishers Island and came up with a plan for the future. The firm recommended combining the Transfer and Compost Station site.  Combining the stations has been an ongoing research project of FIWMD since that time. The amount of waste products produced on the island increases each year. Our environmental responsibilities have also increased and methods of recycling products have improved.  Laws and safety regulations have changed and need to be followed and incorporated. We looked very seriously at the future and the needs of the District to determine what works best for the Island. Now is the time to move forward with our strategic plans.
At FIWMD’s meeting on November 2, 2015, Sarah Malinowski said; “After reviewing all the possible alternatives and benefits; I make the motion that we proceed in earnest the facilities upgrade at the current compost station site” Greg Thibodeau seconded and all were in favor.
In combining the stations, we can better utilize our staff, put cost saving programs into effect and produce a great product from the increases in composting that can benefit all of Fishers Island

Updated May 12, 2016:  You may not be aware that since 2012 NY State’s Property Tax Cap limits the amount local governments and most school districts can increase property taxes to the lower of two percent or the rate of inflation.
We have recently learned from the Office of the NYS Comptroller that FIWMD is a “Special Independent Tax District”. This means the governing board of FIWMD, with a 60% vote can override the tax limit.
This link will bring you to an estimated debt service schedule over 20 years @ 3.25% for $3,500,000.  FIWMD 20 YR BOND SCHEDULE

The below link will lead you to a spreadsheet detailing the 2017 bill for FIWMD and the estimated impact of a tax increase to pay the bond debt. The yellow highlighted cell shows a home with an assessed value of $6,500. This is a made-up number. The chart is automated, you can enter your personal assessed value and the impact will be calculated. 2017 AUTOMATED TAX WORKSHEET

Questions And Answers You May Have About Our Capital Improvement Project:

1. Why do we need to combine the stations, why not leave things as they are?
There are many reasons for combining the facilities
* Current operations are environmentally and legally out of compliance and safety is an issue that needs to be addressed.
* The transfer station site is in a flood zone and there is no way to manage contaminated drainage and stormwater at this location.
* Product Stewardship is giving rise to laws mandating increased recycling and composting.
Product Stewardship – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/66746.html
* The cost of upgrading both stations separately to meet new legal requirements is far more costly than combining everything to one upgraded and improved location.
* To combine the stations, the cost estimates show a savings in construction cost.
* Managing resident and commercial waste deliveries to one site will create a more convenient and efficient experience for Islanders.
* The cost associated with stewardship and continuing to operate two stations would be cost prohibitive; transporting compostable organics and other recyclables from the current transfer station site to the compost site is inconsistent with FIWMD’s Mission Statement and Strategic plans.
2.  Can we combine everything at the transfer station?
* No, we do not own the land at the Transfer Station
* The Transfer Station does not have enough land to accommodate the plans
* The property is exposed to wetlands; it is in the flood plain
3. Can’t we just address the safety issues for a lot less money?
* Safety issues are only part of this upgrade. The major part is preparing for new recycling and composting laws and regulations.
4. Won’t there be a lot more traffic going past the school?
* We don’t see how that is possible but recognize it is important to consider as an issue. Certainly, the busiest times for both the transfer station and compost site are summer months when our seasonal residents are here. But during those times, the school has much more limited use.
* The key timeframe to evaluate is when school is in session, and more particularly the most sensitive hours just before school starts or after it ends. This question arises because people are thinking about the traffic that goes to the transfer station site now will in the future be redirected to the compost site to drop off household refuse.
* The District has recently kept records of how many residents use each of the two facilities by day and by time. To consider the impact of shifting all the traffic now going to the transfer station site over to compost site, we looked for a busy day in September, after school was back on its regular session. A typical busy day was Friday September 18th and the busiest hour from 7:30 to 8:30 AM, right after we open our gates. For that hour, we had 10 residents come to the transfer station and 8 to the compost site. Many people go to both stations; so some people were counted both times. Also, a visitor to the transfer station site may have originated the trip from the west end.
* However, if we assume that during that hour no person went to both sites (so no visit to the transfer station was connected with a trip to the compost site) AND that no trips to the transfer station originated on the west end and travelled by the school, then 10 possible trips to the transfer station may be viewed as a future new trip past the school to the compost site. This overstates the traffic issue but we don’t believe an average of one vehicle every 6 minutes can be considered “a lot” of traffic.
5. Why do we have to do it now?
* The amount of waste brought to both stations continues to increase. Currently we do not have the capacity to deal with this amount of waste responsibly.
* The proposed improvements will provide a safer, more environmentally sensitive solution to the Island’s waste management program and as such should be given a priority for implementation.
* Interest rates are at historic lows. If we make these improvements now, the long-term cost will very likely be less than if we wait and interest rates go up.
6. Why is it going to cost so much?
* Our published report UpdatedCostPlannedConsolidatedFacility9December2017 provides tables showing the elements of cost for the project, including contingencies and related expenses. The logistic costs of materials, equipment and prevailing wage requirements are major factors in the cost of the project.
* The structures at the compost site were constructed nearly 100 years ago for an entirely different purpose. With the exception of the small office/garage facility no attempt was ever made to actually construct a modern, sound solid waste facility at that location. Improving the structural soundness of the site, complying with safety and environmental regulations add to the cost factors.
* Meeting environmental standards for stormwater management is essential and costly.
* Implementing a modern composting program will reduce the amount of waste travelling off the island and will provide the Island with a state-of-the art system that maximizes on-Island use of resources in our waste stream.
7. Who approves the project?
Updated May 15, 2016: The NYS DEC makes the final approval of the project.
8.  Who will pay for the Project, the Town of Southold or Fishers Island?
Updated May 5, 2016: The debt incurred from bonding is paid by the assessment of FI property owner’s taxes.
9. What is the time line for the project?
Updated May 12, 2016: The Town and the DEC will determine the timeline as the project goes through permitting and funding.
10. Are there environmental benefits to combining the stations?
* Yes, unlike the Transfer Station the Compost Station eliminates the potential for floodwaters mixing with refuse.
* The compost site has sufficient land and is arranged so that we can easily collect all drainage and stormwater from the area where the waste containers are kept. The plans include collecting, treating and re-using the drainage water from that area.
* We will reduce our carbon footprint by sending less material to landfills and incinerators
* We will reduce our use of energy for transporting waste; year-round and especially between the months of May through October
11. Is this a short term or long term solution?
* The new infrastructure will provide a long-term solid waste and recycling solution for the residents and businesses of the Island.
12. Will the compost station cause a rodent problem?
* No, neither of the District’s current operations have experienced a rodent problem and that would not change.
13. Will there be a lot of noise and odor?
* No, neither of the District’s current operations generate off-site odors now and that would not change. The noise associated with shredding of brush and logs will not increase. Other processing associated with preparing organics for composting will take place inside the mixing building. From a noise standpoint, the compost site is probably the best location on the Island given its proximity to the Airport.
14. How will this project change the look of the west end of the island?
* The current operations at the compost site are not visible to area residents, that will not change. The mixing building may be visible to a small extent as one approaches the entrance to the site however the District plans to have screening with plantings and fencing.

Please follow the link to view our latest Drafted Facilities Planning Report.

Please follow the following links to the latest Site Improvements/Proposed Lease Limit and the Proposed Overall Layout Plan PLT01_Property Lease Limit Fishers Island Transfer Station               PLT02_OVERALL LAYOUT_Fishers Island Transfer Station


DEC Grant Programs relating to FIWMD’s Facilities Upgrading Project
Municipal Waste Reduction and Recycling Program (MWR&R)

NYSDEC administers state assistance programs for waste reduction, recycling and household hazardous waste (HHW) programs. Funding is provided on a 50% reimbursement rate for eligible costs.


Municipal Waste Reduction and Recycling Program (MWR&R):


Capital Projects – DEC is authorized to provide State assistance for projects that enhance municipal recycling infrastructure through purchasing of equipment or construction of facilities. Some communities used funding to construct materials recycling facilities or state-of-the-art composting facilities. Other communities have been able to purchase recycling containers and new recycling vehicles with their MWR&R funding.

Also, a guideline for DEC Grants Available for the planning facilities upgrades:

The below link will lead you to a spreadsheet detailing the 2017 bill for FIWMD and the estimated impact of a tax increase to pay the bond debt. The yellow highlighted cell shows a home with an assessed value of $6,500. This is a made-up number. The chart is automated, you can enter your personal assessed value and the impact will be calculated. 2017 AUTOMATED TAX WORKSHEET

12 thoughts on “Facility Upgrades Information

  1. Harry Parker

    Thank you for such a clear presentation of your thought processes and the conclusion you have reached. I hope all Fishers Islanders will read this carefully.

  2. Marc Rubenstein and Prish Pierce

    FIWMD has done an excellent job with this response. It’s much appreciated. One additional issue we would appreciate more information about is the proposed composting aspect of the project. The consultant’s proposal indicates that 100-150 tons of material could be diverted from the stream currently being transferred off island. The consultant’s figures indicate that this would save about $24,000 in transportation costs annually, but also points out that this would require investing $2,600,000 in construction costs. Since this appears to be a relatively modest yearly savings against a major capital investment, it would be useful to understand better the need for this part of the proposed project. Thanks,
    Marc Rubenstein
    Prish Pierce

    1. FI Waste Management District Post author

      Thank you Marc,
      As you and I discussed yesterday, the $2,600,000 is not the construction cost. Later this week I will post the breakdown of costs for each segment of the project.
      Thank you for your patience.
      Beth Stern

      1. FI Waste Management District Post author

        Thank you Marc for taking the time to study our proposed project and asking questions to help clarify some of information that we’ve put out to the community for their review and thoughts.
        Although it does appear that a large part of the expenditure is allocated to composting it actually over laps into other parts of the project as well.
        Some of what we are doing is to meet the safety regulations OSHA and the DEC require to operate a transfer station are part of the cost that falls under composting. We are doing this for the DEC preapproval application for grant money. The DEC will reimburse 50 % up to two million dollars for Municipal Waste Reduction & Recycling. That is why it appears to be such a large amount.
        The report describes 100-150 tons of material diverted from the waste stream but it really is larger. Contractor debris is not considered in the report and would increase the diversion to approximately 200 tons.
        We are looking at a much larger savings than $24,000 you mentioned in your comment. We are anticipating more to the tune of $100,000 yearly. We plan to implement as many programs as we can to save money, reduce our carbon footprint and meet FIWMD’s Mission Statement. To this end, we are looking to implement a program to eliminate bottles and cans from the waste stream which is also a huge savings. Investigating textile recovery, metal recovery and the sales of compost, wood, mulch and firewood, will generate income to offset the cost of operations.
        We are all looking forward to this project benefiting the island community.
        I hope the above answers your questions as well as giving you additional information for the upgrades to the facility.
        Thank you,

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you for taking the time to share this information. I am hoping you could answer some additional questions I have. The link to DEC grants on your website has the requirements for the grants that waste management hopes to receive for your project. I see that any grant money would be on a first-come first-serve basis and in addition a pre-application is needed to get a position on the waiting list for any funds available that year. Has this application been completed? When would you know if you have the expected grant money? It looks to me as if other parts of the project may also be eligible for grant money, is there a plan to request grant money for more than just for composting? Please explain when the composting capital expenditure would be paid back or is expected to become profitable with and without grant money? One more thing I would like help to understand is the need for a 600 ton configured feedstock system for a 100 to 150 ton of expected diverted material stated in the report. Could a smaller system be used? Is our composting need projected to grow by 6 times what it is today over the life expectancy of this equipment?
    Chris Finan

    1. FI Waste Management District Post author

      Thank you for your questions.
      *The pre-application has been in the works for the last month or so. It made no sense to begin the pre-application process earlier; the FIWMD commissioners had not made a final determination to what option of the plan they wished to proceed until November 2, 2015.
      After the DEC receives the pre-application, they will inform us if the project is conceptually eligible. At that time, we are put on a waiting list. Next, the DEC requests a final application. If grant funding has run out when the DEC approves our final application, the application is added to the next pool. The DEC currently has a waiting list of 3-5 years.
      Any portion of the project related to the composting program will be considered as part of the application process. The grant program is specifically intended for Waste Reduction and Recycling.
      *This project is not intended for monetary profit but to move forward with FIWMD
      Mission Statement and Strategic Plans. If there were a monetary profit, it would come in the form of compost sales.
      *100 – 150 tons reflect organic waste. This does not include other materials we will compost such as untreated wood, untreated pallets, brush, leaves, grass; some of what we already compost.

    2. FI Waste Management District Post author

      Thank you Chris for your questions.
      At this time, it is difficult to answer your question about payback for the capital expenditure. We are in the beginning stages of the grant application. At the moment there are several unknown calculations. Such as bonding and referendum costs. As we receive additional costs from the various entities involved, we will present them to the public.
      We are looking at this project as a long-term investment. The shredder with a good maintenance program can last 35 years or longer. What we will save on hauling, transportation and tipping fees along with sales of compost, shredded wood and firewood alone will, in the long run, help with the cost of the project and the overall cost of operations.
      At this time the separator shredder we plan to purchase is the smallest model that fits our needs.
      Once we have the upgraded facility up and running, our composting program will grow at least 4 times the amount that we composting today, and from all indications will continue to increase.
      It has been reported that 100-150 tons will be diverted from the stream. The report does not take paper and untreated construction debris into account so the tonnage will be more to the tune of 200 tunes.
      Thank you,
      Greg T.

  4. Liz Burnham

    Just wanted to express my appreciation for the thoughtful and detailed responses you’ve posted here!
    – Liz Burnham

  5. Pingback: FIWMD Consolidated Facilities Planning Report Update - FishersIsland.net

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