SUMNER – Selectmen from Sumner and Buckfield agreed Tuesday night to ask residents if they would rather pay a fee or have their taxes raised in order to increase revenue for the waste transfer station the towns share.

The station on Route 140 in Buckfield is financed by both towns.

Buckfield Town Manager Glen Holmes, who moderated the meeting, presented a proposed budget that is $6,900 less than the current one. The lower figure primarily reflects anticipated reductions in the cost of equipment, solid waste disposal and recycling.

The Buckfield Budget Committee has requested that Holmes develop a budget with either substantial cuts or more revenue. A potential reduction in waste disposal cost, used in Livermore, is to mandate recycling with clear bags, bag inspections and fines of up to $500 for improperly sorted trash. A means of increasing revenue is to charge fees for using the station.

Almost all towns that have tried a fee per bag system have abandoned the practice due to residents’ objections, administrative headaches or more roadside trash disposal, it was stated.

Buckfield selectmen thought an annual $10 sticker fee would be a reasonable way to increase revenue.

But Sumner selectmen strongly objected to any fee for using the station.

“This is a service that this town furnishes,” board Chairman Silber said, pointing out there are few services provided to residents for their taxes. “My sense is that people are on the edge” due to high taxes and that it is more advantageous to pay the station costs through property tax “since nonresidents pay a significant portion of the bill if it is put on taxes.”

It was agreed to ask residents their preference of either a fee for stickers or higher taxes.

Selectmen from both towns agreed to reconsider an annual sticker fee next year.

The possibility of charging $1 for the cost of the sticker was also considered. Buckfield Selectman John Lowell said if people were used to paying the $1 it would be easy to increase the amount in the future.

Sumner selectmen adjourned to hold a public hearing on a General Assistance Ordinance, and having no objections from residents, the Maine Municipal Association model was adopted.

No record could be found of the town previously adopting a General Assistance Ordinance.

Selectman Mary Ann Haxton said the ordinance would not change past practices in Sumner.

Selectmen agreed to recommend to the Sumner Scholarship Fund Committee that it invest its funds with the Maine Community Foundation. This change would increase the funds available for scholarships and help grow their endowment, said Town Clerk Susan Runes, who researched the matter.

The town will seek a deputy town clerk to work approximately six weeks per year. The deputy will need to take training and be certified by the state.


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