By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Scrap metal could turn into a gold mine for Derry once the town’s new transfer station is up and running.
While the town’s financial statements for the past nine months showed a drop in the transfer station’s revenues, that could change once a new facility opens.
Work on Derry’s $3 million transfer station is scheduled to begin this fall.
“We will be able to recycle items we don’t recycle now,” Chief Financial Officer Frank Childs said.
Childs, along with Controller Janice Mosby, offered a revenue update to town councilors recently, saying revenues for selling certain recyclables is down by about $90,000.
“Scrap metal costs are down, there is a softness in the commodity costs for recycling,” Childs said.
People also are selling scrap metal themselves.
“They are taking advantage of the market,” Childs said.
The town has boasted admirable recycling rates — up to 38 percent in past years and a goal to hit the 40 percent mark, much better than the state’s rate of about 21 to 24 percent.
It could be even better with an expanded and updated facility, officials said. More items could be recycled and sold, bringing in more revenue for the town.
Public Works Director Michael Fowler said it’s time for a change.
The current transfer station building dates back to 1980 and is undersized for Derry’s population.
With its aging structure, items are often unprotected and stolen, he said, materials blow around in the wind and the traffic flow plan makes for some drop-off snags as well.
The new design will offer more recycling areas and a more streamlined process, Fowler said.
A lot of research went into the design, Fowler said. That included visiting about a dozen other communities.
Fowler said the town is doing a good job with the facility it has, but more can be done.
Derry started mandatory recycling in the 1990s. Town groups like the Go Green Committee continue efforts to educate people and get more of them recycling.
The new facility will offer more space and more opportunities to separate glass, plastic, and other materials.
That means more money in Derry’s pocket.
“It could be a huge revenue source, anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000 in added revenues, that could also go to help pay off the bond,” Fowler said.
He said it’s a goal to get the new transfer station done in time for a May 2014 opening.
“It’s definitely a coming attraction,” he said.