JAY — Business representatives and mobile home park owners voiced concerns Monday to selectpersons about the Solid Waste Committee’s recommendations on who can use curbside pickup service.
The committee had approved the recommendations in a mixed vote.
The panel was tasked with looking for savings to offset the cost of reinstating curbside pickup. The service was not included in the 2017-18 budget but a citizens’ petition put it back for vote in August and it was approved. The cost of the contracted service provided by Archie’s Inc. of Mexico is $10,000 a month.
After more than an hour of discussion Monday and some failed votes, selectpersons voted 3-2 to have the two ex-officio members on the Solid Waste Committee, Selectpersons Judy Diaz and Tim DeMillo, add the committee’s recommendations and incorporate comments made Monday to the Solid Waste Ordinance. In favor were Diaz, DeMillo and Selectperson Keith Cornelio. Opposed were Selectpersons Gary McGrane and Terry Bergeron.
The board also voted to appoint Bob Richmond, Sue Therrien and Dan DiPompo to the committee.
In the midst of the debate, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere suggested the ordinance go before voters during the annual town meeting referendum on April 24, 2018. If it passes, the changes could be implemented the following year.
The committee was tasked with finding savings and the only way to do it is to take away services, LaFreniere said.
Voters will have the final say on any changes to the ordinance.
The committee had reviewed options to determine the best way to handle disposal of solid waste and submitted their recommendations to selectpersons.
Among them is to discontinue curbside pickup collection for all commercial activities including but not limited to:
• Apartment buildings, which contain three or more dwelling units per parcel, which are not owner occupied.
• Restaurants, warehouses;
• Markets, grocery stores, food vendors;
• Manufacturing or industrial facilities;
• Business offices;
• Any business establishment adjoining or within a residential structure; and
• Trailer parks.
Concerns raised included picking and choosing who the town was going to serve.
“My trailer park is commercial and the residents pay taxes. I am paying my taxes,” Therrien, who owns a mobile home park, said.
She asked if the town was going to give her money back since she would not have the service and it will cost her more to put a dumpster in the park.
Resident/businessman Terry Trask said he also owns a mobile home park.
“You have to separate residents from businesses,” he said, adding people need to be treated fairly.
Residents pay taxes on mobile homes and he pays taxes on the land.
Another committee recommendation was to discontinue service at the Transfer Station to all commercial entities. Those entities would need to contract privately for solid waste service.
“I cannot take my trash to the dump,” Therrien said. “I don’t want a dumpster. If I went around and picked up the trash I can’t get rid of it. You guys are trying to save money, so am I. I live there and I pay taxes.”
“I think that it should stay the way it is,” resident Lillian Wight, a committee member, said.
Curbside collection is cheap and the town can afford it, Trask said.
The town has only one more $1.33 million payment to Verso Androscoggin LLC to settle a $4 million tax dispute.
Information provided before the August vote indicated the cost to individual taxpayers was less than $30 a year for curbside collection compared to nearly $30 a month to independently pay a private hauler.
Marilyn Morse, a resident and businesswoman on the Solid Waste Committee, said if people want to keep trash pickup they need to attend budget meetings because people who attended budget meetings earlier this year were yelling, “cut, cut, cut.”