Jay voters to decide on curbside trash, recycling pickup


JAY — Selectmen voted 3 to 2 on Monday to present a separate article to voters in June to let them decide if they want to keep curbside trash and recycling pickup.

Selectmen Steve McCourt and Tom Goding opposed having a separate article for $326,800 on the warrant for the service in 2010-11.

All selectmen, including Warren Bryant, Tim DeMillo and Amy Gould opposed recommending that voters approve that article.

Budget Committee members voted 5-4 to recommend a positive vote on the curbside pickup warrant article. Committee member Mike Houlihan abstained from the vote.

It was unclear who voted in favor of the article and who was against on the committee late Monday.

Selectmen unanimously voted to recommend a positive vote on their original $813,635 article, which would eliminate curbside service.

They cited cost to maintain the service, loss of revenue and the need for new equipment as some of their reasons to eliminate the service.

Selectman Tom Goding said cuts have to be made somewhere. Jay is the only town of under 22,000 residents that provides a town-based pickup service, according to the State Planning Office, Gould said. There are towns that contract the service out to private haulers but Jay’s union contract with its workers prohibit it, McCourt said.

Budget Committee members voted 9-1, with Rick Merrill opposed, to recommend a yes vote on the $813,635 amount. That would eliminate two positions and not fill a vacant position.

The votes came after an hour of debate after residents questioned the reasoning of eliminating the service and the hardship it would pose on the elderly and others on fixed income.

It boiled down to between saving $33 to $35 per $100,000 of property valuation, according to Town Manager Ruth Cushman, who was asked what it would mean to taxpayers.

Todd Hiscock, a transfer station employee, said private hauling services cost between $20 to $30 a month.

It was also mentioned that there is $115,000 in reserve to buy a new recycling truck and there is $50,000 in reserve for building and equipment.

Budget Committee member April Hartford halted the debate by asking selectman to put a separate article before voters on curbside.

“I’m not really sure about the elderly and I’m not sure about the young people,” Hartford said. “I work five days a week and I don’t want to give up a Saturday with my kids. … I’m spoiled.”

She asked that all residents be allowed to make the decision.

Both selectmen and Budget Committee members voted to recommend yes votes on the proposed Police Department budget of $784,218; Fire Department budget of $225,260; Highway Department budget of $1.37 million; and capital paving budget of $350,000.

After some discussion, selectmen agreed to remove $1,500 out of the Fire Department budget for Christmas decorations and put it back in buildings and grounds.

There was some debate surrounding the selectmen’s removal of 750 hours of overtime from the Highway Department’s budget but in the end it was approved by both panels.

More budget deliberation is scheduled at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, at the high school library.

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