NEW MILFORD — A committee’s 18-month study has determined the recycling center on Young’s Field Road should remain under the town’s control.

“It is the unanimous opinion of the subcommittee that turning the operation of the center over to a third party vendor would be detrimental to the mission of the center,” the Recycling Subcommittee’s report said. “The customer experience would suffer, for example, as control of costs would be determined by a vendor working for a profitable bottom line.”

The center was losing money in 2012-13, making the cost of running it a burden to taxpayers. However, the center now been able to sustain itself for the 2015-16 fiscal year through revenue it has generated, according to Public Works Director Mike Zarba, a member of the subcommittee.

“Not going out to a third-party vendor is a wise choice,” council member Joe Failla said. “I’m glad to see the changes that have been implemented for efficiency and cost savings.”

During the 18 months of study, the subcommittee has implemented several changes at the center. Tires have been picked up by a vendor when needed, resulting in a $2,500 annual savings. Air-conditioning units have been recycled through a vendor, and a mattress recycling program has been offered, with a special container for uncontaminated mattresses and box springs.

Customer service improvements have been made with modified center hours that are consistent through the year, staff has participated in customer service training and an improved process for purchasing and checking permit stickers created a better traffic flow into the center.

To further increase efficiency, starting July 1, 2016 each residential vehicle must have a $20 sticker, each commercial vehicle needs a $40 sticker and the fee for seniors who are 65 and older will be waived for their first sticker. One-day passes remain $3 for residents of New Milford, Sherman and Brookfield. Stickers now cost $20 and are free to seniors.

The subcommittee recommended hiring a non-union, part-time center coordinator. Zarba and the town sanitarian handle recycling issues, market demands and laws and regulations.

“There are opportunities out there for cost savings and efficiency to happen quickly,” Zarba said. “This could enhance center operations without a subcommittee being formed every six months. It would be better to have a coordinator who would pay for their salary through efficiencies found.”

stuz@newstimes.com; 203-731-3352