Council opens free dump days to tenants, all city residents

LEWISTON — Residents won't get curbside spring cleanup collections, but the city will let all residents take their bulky waste to the dump free-of-charge, councilors decided Thursday.

Councilors voted to fund curbside brush collections for the week of April 21-28. They also plan to open the city's landfill at 424 River Road to allow residents to drop off bulky items for one week.

Bulky waste includes old furniture, carpeting, mattresses, construction and demolition debris, wood waste, brush tree clippings, old televisions, computer monitors, refrigerators and scrap metal. It also includes up to four tires and two 20-pound propane gas cylinders per resident.

It's the same program the city offered last year, but last year's free dump visits were limited to property owners. This year, councilors opened it to all Lewiston residents.

"At least, we should offer it as a test run," Councilor Mark Cayer said. "If there's abuse, we can revisit it."

Public Works Director David Jones said the brush collections should cost the city about $11,000. Waiving tipping fees would cost the city about $20,000.

Jones said the city has about $90,000 left over from its winter plowing and sanding budget that could easily pay for the collections.

But he urged councilors to consider putting the cleanup up week in next year's budget.

"If we are going to continue to do this, we should put it in the budget so we don't have to worry about how we're doing it next year," Jones said.

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 's picture

Dan - feel free to check out

Dan - feel free to check out the City budget at to see the costs for yourself.

 's picture

Some background...

The big issues are the cost ($100,000) and the amount of time required to complete spring cleanup. Last time it was done, it took Public Works 7 weeks working overtime to complete cleanup, taking away fully 1/3 of the repaving season. Spring cleanup v. Fixing our streets? For those 7 weeks, every city street looked like a neighborhood landfill. No other major city in the state does a city-wide spring cleanup for similar reasons. Before I was on the Council, tenants were not permitted to use the free pass at the dump during spring cleanup week. We made what I thought to be a positive change allowing all residents to participate. And we're in Maine - if we try hard, we all know at least one person with a pickup truck.

Sandra Coulombe's picture

Opening the dump rather than

Opening the dump rather than doing a pickup is pretty pointless even to a large number of home owners who do not own or know someone with a pick up truck and those who have physical limitations. Road side spring clean was a grand idea and should include apartment buildings. Exactly who does the council believes pays the property taxes on all those apartments in the first place? Do they honestly not understand that they are factored into the rent collected on those buildings so it indeed the tenants who are the ones actually paying the taxes?

Jeff Johnson's picture

"Do they honestly not

"Do they honestly not understand that they are factored into the rent collected on those buildings so it indeed the tenants who are the ones actually paying the taxes?"
One would also have to assume that cleanup costs are factored into the rent?
Also, it could be argued that apartments have a higher turn-over rate, and generate a much higher level of bulky trash than single-family residents.
For very little money, you can rent a truck and do it yourself. (Budget will rent a 24' box truck for $39/day, plus $1/mile. If you can fill up a 24' truck with trash, you've got a problem to begin with) For under $50 you've solved the problem of trash piled up on the streets for weeks, blocked entrances, and we can get the road crews out paving earlier, where it's needed.
A little accountability from the tennants and landlords perhaps?

 's picture

Bulk Trash p/u

Really, what's the point of opening the dump for no-charge bulk waste disposal? As Frank Early notes, that makes it available only to those who have pick-up trucks. Last year it was for property owners only. Apparently people who live in apartments don't generate bulky waste. Or maybe the council thinks apartment dwellers are bums anyway, so why bother with them? It never ceases to amaze me how pathetic and cheesy the council is. I wonder how much is spent every year picking up bulky trash dumped by the roadside illegally because the city's to cheap to do it up front?

Just drop the whole in thing instead of pretending to care and give back the money to the citizens. Even a couple of bucks back in my pocket is more meaningful and less patronizing than this foolishness.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Thats real big of you...

When I lived in Lewiston, we had bulk waste pick up every year. Now I realize the city counselors don't feel spending the money now to pick up the trash is good fiscal planning.
I can remember going down Bartlet St. and the trash was literally piled up eight to ten feet on both sides of the road. This being the result of people coming and going,leaving behind a lot of stuff because they had no way to move it. This creates a huge burden to the landlord, as well as safety problems to the tenants. Where do you think that crap is before its on the street. Its blocking exits stairways and fire escapes.
Opening the dump so tenants can bring their own bulk trash is plain stupid. A lot of people don't even have cars that run never mind a truck, or access to one. That trash is just going to build up to the point that the landlord has to take care of the problem. And he's probably going to have to hire someone to help, at least the dump is free(for a while).


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