LIVERMORE FALLS – It’s official, the dump stays open.

Selectmen met Monday night to attempt to find a solution to the transfer station budget problem. After a sometimes contentious discussion between the five-person board and the nearly 50 people who attended the meeting, the board voted unanimously to delay making any final decision about the situation for six months. During that time, the dump will remain open full time, 40 hours a week.

The problem arose after the latest special town meeting, at which residents voted to keep the transfer station open full time. However, residents also refused to allot more than $184,000 to run the dump, while selectmen maintained that it would cost no less than $215,000.

Selectmen meeting Monday night tried to find a way to keep the dump open at the reduced budget. Several of the simplest methods to resolve the issue, including simply moving money from another department into the Municipal Solid Waste Fund, would violate town laws.

Many residents expressed frustration with attempting to communicate their wishes to the board, stemming from apparent misunderstandings from the last special town meeting. They called for another special town meeting.

Others stated they were angry and did not trust selectmen to have the town’s best interests in mind.

The board had to repeatedly ask residents to not interrupt and to stick to discussing the transfer station fund, which was the single item on the agenda.

Selectman Russell Flagg pointed out that the residents had created the problem to begin with by reducing the solid waste budget.

“You’ve put it back in our laps,” he said. “You were the people who cut the budget.”

Selectmen were hesitant to hold another special town meeting, stating that they were worried that a trend would begin – people unsatisfied with the decision reached by town agencies could demand town meetings until they received a favorable vote.

Other residents called for a more orderly discussion, and several offered their own suggestions to save money. These ran from cutting or postponing some items on the solid waste budget, such as a new fence and gate for the transfer station. Another suggestion was to move the $2,500 allotted to repair the transfer station’s loader to the highway fund.

Both residents and selectmen agreed that the simplest way to reduce the solid waste budget was to increase recycling within the town. Livermore Falls is recycling less than it has in previous years. Selectmen called upon homeowners, as well as local businesses, to make sure that they sort their trash and use clear bags to make it easier for the transfer station to be as efficient as possible.

Livermore Falls has a mandatory recycling law, and those who refuse can be fined.

“We need to make a constant effort to recycle,” Selectman William Demaray noted.

After more than an hour of heated debate, selectmen voted unanimously to keep the dump open full time and monitor the cost of maintenance over the next six months.


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