LEWISTON — A plan to require special trash bags for city curbside collection fell apart Tuesday night in a close but quick City Council vote.

Councilors voted 4-3 to terminate an agreement with WasteZero to create an education program leading up to a public vote.

Councilor Jim Lysen said it was a difficult decision for him, but ending the program was what his constituents said they wanted.

“A majority of us heard it from visiting doors during the election: People are against this program,” Lysen said. “I’m not saying it’s something that can never be rolled out. But at this time, it does not make sense to me, and we need to get our act together with respect to the entire program.”

Lysen was joined by Councilors Tim Lajoie, Joline Beam and Mike Lachance in voting to cancel the program. Councilors Isobel Golden, Shane Bouchard and Kristen Cloutier supported it.

Unlike Lysen, Lachance said his no vote was easy to make.

“It is an important issue, and there are a lot of serious things to look at,” Lachance said. “But as far as this vote, this was an extremely easy decision for me. Now I’m really looking forward to doing fact-finding on the issues that we are faced with.”

Public Works Director David Jones said the city should get about $20,000 back from Waste Zero. He said the company had billed the city for $8,000 worth of work so far.

Councilors approved the education program last July. It would have talked about the benefits of paid trash collection leading up to a public vote on the process.

According to the plan, the city would have sold special bags, about $2 for a 30-gallon bag and about $1.25 for a 15-gallon bag. The city would collect trash at any address if it was left at the curb in one of the bags.

The idea was meant to improve the city’s recycling rates and cut down on the amount of household trash sent to Auburn’s Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp. incinerator. It would have generated revenue for the city and cut down on tipping fees to dispose of the trash.

The savings could be used to cut the city’s tax rate, reducing it by about 66 cents for an entire year of the program, or about 44 cents if the program starts mid-year. That would be a savings of between $99 and $66 in property taxes on a $150,000 home.

Lysen hinted that the city must do something else to promote recycling.

“I just want to let people know that I really am a strong believer that we need to step forward and improve our recycling rate and look at other forms of waste reduction,” Lysen said. “We are going to be working on an educational program to help people understand the role they can play.”

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