Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Council increases fees for burning, hauling refuse

By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
Saturday, April 5, 2008

VERNON — Residents can expect to pay more for burning brush or hauling refuse now that the Town Council has increased permit fees.

The council this week approved Mayor Jason L. McCoy’s proposals with an eye on increasing non-tax revenue.

The first proposal increases the cost of open burn permits from $1 to $50, while the second raises the annual fee charged to refuse haulers from $100 to $500.

The burn permit allows residents to set fire to brush and certain kinds of debris, such as fallen tree limbs, on their property on certain days.

McCoy initially proposed charging $100 for such a permit, but council members reduced the proposal to $50, with a $99 fine to be levied against those who violate the ordinance.

According to McCoy, the town issued 176 burn permits last year, and each required the time of the fire marshal, who inspects each site before and after. A number of complaints by some residents on constant burning by their neighbors also had to be investigated.

Raising the fees for a permit will bring charges more in line with costs to the town, and keep burns to a minimum, McCoys says.

The measure passed with only Democratic Councilwoman Pauline Schaefer dissenting.

Councilwoman Marie Herbst, also a Democrat, was absent from Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, but had opposed the measure when introduced two weeks ago, saying it took money from those who could least afford it.

“You’re raising money on the backs of the ordinary taxpayer,” she said.

The second fee increase, which is $500 per truck, affects trash haulers that travel through Vernon.

McCoy says the town has not been as aggressive as it should when it comes to collecting fees from this group.

That measure passed unanimously.

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