NORWAY — The chairman of the Norway Paris Solid Waste Committee said a last minute requested increase of $46,500 in the fiscal 2017 department budget wascaused by a variety of problems including a 50 percent reduction in the price of steel and metal and the need to close segments of the Frost Hill landfill on Route 117.

That state mandate to close several pits by 2022 will cost at least $300,000 according to figures obtained four years ago, said Vern Maxfield, chairman of the NPSWC who has told both Norway and Paris officials that an additional combined $46,000 is needed for the upcoming budget.

Maxfield told the Advertiser Democrat that only $40,000 of the potential $300,000 or more has been set aside so far for the closing mandate. No funds were requested over the last two years because of the committee’s attempt to reduce the overall requested increase at the annual town meetings, he said.

“For the last two years we haven’t put any money aside for the future covering of the pits,” said Maxfield. The Frost Hill facility is open from April 1 through Oct. 31.

If the pits are not closed by 2022, the towns can face fines by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Earlier this month, Town Manager David Holt presented Norway’s $4.7 million municipal budget for 2016-17, which included only partial funding of the additional 18 percent budget increase requested from the Norway Paris Solid Waste Committee.

Holt told the board he was concerned about the last-minute request by the Norway Paris Solid Waste Committee for the 18 percent budget increase.

The Norway Paris Solid Waste Committee requested $308,500 – an 18 percent increase, over last year’s approved $270,632 budget.

Holt has only recommended that only 8 percent of the requested increase be approved this year.

Holt said he was not in agreement with the full amount requested and because he did not want to make a “knee-jerk” reaction by taking money out of other department requests, he agreed to partially fund the request in his budget.

In Paris, Interim Town Manager Sawin Millett told selectmen that the Norway Paris Solid Waste Committee had submitted a $46,000 increase for fiscal 2017, bringing the total in that town from $262,000 to $308,500.

Millett recommended flat funding the budget and dealing with the Frost Hill closure later.

$46,000 after the fact was a striking message. I could not believe what I was reading when I first saw that,” Millett said last week of the last minute increase request.

Maxfield blamed himself in part for the lateness of the request saying the committee had met several times debating whether to ask for the increase and there was some “procrastination” on his end to deliver the request.

The budget, which also includes a $13,534 request for Norway’s portion of the Oxford County Solid Waste costs is now before the budget committee in both towns for review and recommendation to the boards of selectmen and later town meeting action.

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