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Transfer station plate readers online, town reviewing regulations

Residents arrive at the transfer station to dump their trash. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/NELL ESCOBAR COAKLEY

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If you’ve driven to the transfer station lately, you might not have noticed a small camera sitting atop a telephone pole at the entrance. Or if you noticed, you might have thought it was just another security camera.

Nope. It’s the town’s new plate reader, which allows the Department of Public Works to track who has and doesn’t have a current permit, as well as provide other stats, such as how many trips a person might make in a given year.

The new plate reader at the transfer station is part of an upgrade. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/NELL ESCOBAR COAKLEY

DPW Director Robert Labossiere said the system is part of a $6.5 million upgrade of the transfer station and is expected to help with permit enforcement.

“We do have issues with people refusing to get stickers,” Labossiere said. “Now, we hope this will help avoid confrontation.”

Nick Parlee, the transfer station’s coordinator, agreed.

“We have had people who are very vocal,” Parlee said. “We’ve asked them not to come back.”

But they keep coming back. And, Parlee added, there have even been people who walk in from the river.

Parlee, however, said even if walk-ins have a permit with them, he’s fine with that. It’s just those who try to avoid paying the fee, which has gone up in 2024 to $340 for the first permit and $30 for each additional permit.

Parlee said that’s about 5,000 first permits on file and 200 second permits. That’s about 75% of Winchester residents who come in to the station, with the other 25% paying for private trash pickup.

“It’s gridlock here on Saturdays,” he said, “especially if it’s leaf season.”

VIDEO BY PETER ENGELDRUM AND JOYCE WESTNER

Although the system was installed Jan. 28, it wasn’t until March 2 that the town was scheduled to start enforcement.

Town Manager Beth Rudolph said the town is currently reviewing the transfer station’s rules and regulations and will ramp up enforcement as needed.

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