Councilors like brush collection, punch-pass dump plan

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AUBURN — Councilors will vote on a plan this month to collect brush curbside later this summer and establish a punch pass program to let residents take bulky items to Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp.

City Manager Glenn Aho outlined plans for a replacement curbside collection program at Monday’s City Council meeting.

“We’ve been all around the barn on this, but I think we have something that can work,” Aho told councilors at a workshop meeting Monday night.

Councilors decided in April to end this year’s free curbside collection of bulky waste, old appliances and furniture. But councilors asked Aho to investigate offering a collection to people willing to pay for the service.

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After considering letting residents pay to have the city cart off bulky items, Aho said he’s settled on the brush collection program. Residents would be able to register with the city to have brush collected, free of charge.

“In the past, we tended to drive block by block, looking for piles of brush,” Aho said. “This would give us a list of places where we are going to collect, and we’ll be able to map out a route that makes sense. That’s how we’d save money.”

For bulky items, Aho said the city could sell a $20 or $25 punch pass, giving residents a single opportunity to take bulky items — appliances, furniture, carpeting, demolition debris and other things — to MMWAC.

Aho said he would bring the matter back to councilors for formal vote at their next council meeting.

Aho also outlined plans for an interim curbside recycling program, designed to be in service between July 2010 and June 2011.

Under Aho’s latest plan, the city would continue to collect and sort recycling at the curb, but collections would be reduced to two times per month. If a month has five weeks, there will be no collections on the fifth week.

The city began offering a similar program in New Auburn in January, but has not been well received.

“I think one thing we learned from New Auburn was that we needed to do more public information, telling people about what we’re offering and when,” Aho said. He suggested the city could publish a calendar to remind residents when collections were scheduled, if councilors approve the new plan.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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