Trash, recyclables curbside pickup on the chopping block

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JAY – Selectmen unanimously decided to propose a 2010-11 budget that eliminates curbside trash and recycling pickup service as of July 1, Town Manager Ruth Cushman said Thursday.

If passed by voters, the transfer station and solid waste services would be funded at $811,000 instead of $1.4 million, select board Chairman Steve McCourt said. That’s a difference of about $600,000, he said.

“We are in a position that we have two trucks that need to be replaced immediately, if we keep that service,” Cushman said. “We talked to the State Planning Office and we are the only municipality that supports curbside pickup in Franklin County. The Planning Office representative also told her that there are no towns under 22,000 population that have a program like the town’s, she said.

“It was an extremely hard decision for selectmen to make, but with shrinking revenue and analysis of cost per ton, we cannot afford to continue this program,” she said.

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“We also have a baler that is pretty tender,” Cushman said.

The situation is compounded by loss of revenue from Livermore Falls going to single-stream recycling as of July 1.

“Almost all of our budget is coming in at or below last year’s level,” Cushman said of the town’s spending plan for the coming fiscal year.

If curbside pickup is eliminated, there will be a loss of two jobs.

“We looked at different scenarios and if we stay with curbside we are going to end up just in two trucks at a cost of about $250,000,” McCourt said. “And if we stay in business as usual, we will end up having to fill Bob’s position, and if not we may be able to keep John there.”

Former transfer station supervisor Bob Sanders died last year. Since then, highway foreman John Johnson has been overseeing both departments.

A lot of people already take their trash and recyclables to the transfer station, Cushman said. It will be the responsibility of people to take care of their trash and recyclables, she said. There are private haulers, she said, who can be hired to haul trash.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee will review the budget at 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, March 29 and 30, at the Jay High School library.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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