STRONG — A reduced budget and new hybrid plan of operation are topics of the Sandy River Recycling Association budget hearing and annual meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Forster Memorial Building.

Reducing the proposed 2014 budget by $18,060 involves cutting the association’s three paid employees to a four-day week and ending collection of certain types of colored glass and plastics.

The proposed $183,930 budget does provide funds for a short-term administrative outreach to increase efficiency and market the new hybrid system, Jo Josephson, president of the local volunteer association, said Monday.

“We’re really excited about this new plan,” Josephson said. “We’re the first in Maine to try it.”

Formed in 1990 to encourage recycling and keep items from landfills, the association has faced its share of hurdles in recent years.

Owned by member towns and governed by their representatives, the association collects, processes and markets recyclables for its members, she said.

When the economy took a downturn in 2008, so did the demand for recyclables and prices for them. Before 2008, selling recyclables paid well, she said.

To help increase recycling from the start, the association did not charge the true cost of recycling to member towns. They subsidized the cost, keeping it at $52 a ton while landfills averaged $55-$70 a ton, she said.

Last year, they decided they could no longer do that and had to take a look at the real costs, she said. They went up on what they charge member towns to better reflect transportation and processing costs. How much each town pays is based on the tonnage they produce and the distance from the main facility in Farmington.

Another hurdle was member towns moving to single-sort recycling.

Four towns have left: Kingfield, Wilton, Mount Vernon and Temple, the latter choosing Archie’s to not only collect but also dispose of its recyclables.

There’s less money for materials and fewer members, she said.

Working with Fergus Lea of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, the association board of directors evaluated its work, realized areas of inefficiency and devised a hybrid plan to help address these issues. It includes retaining members, who can benefit from working collectively with other towns.

The plan, which they intend to implement by 2015, will be discussed Thursday night and provides three options for members.

Under the first option, the association continues to collect, bale and sell recyclable materials, as they have done for 23 years, she said.

The second option involves the association providing transportation for single-sort recycling, she said. Under the assisted single-sort system, the association collects and compacts recyclables for the town and transports them to a single-sort facility. This option would allow smaller towns to use single-sort recycling without paying up to $40,000 for a station compactor, she said.

The third option is a negotiated single-sort system where the association can negotiate lower tipping fees and transport a town’s compacted materials to a single-sort facility. The town would need to invest in a compactor, she said.

A couple of forums will be held starting in January to explain and explore the options with elected officials, she said. More information on costs for these options is being gathered for presentation Thursday.

The budget includes funds for an alternative, “Plan B,” if the hybrid doesn’t work, she said.

More information is available on their website at

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