Gouldsboro voters to revisit trash bag fee

Posted May 04, 2009, at 7:54 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:09 p.m.

GOULDSBORO, Maine — Even though more than 70 residents voted on the issue more than eight months ago, selectmen have decided to let voters decide once again whether to continue the practice of charging user fees for trash bag disposal.

The board met last week and then held an emergency session Monday to meet the deadline for getting the question on the warrant for the annual town meeting in June.

What voters will not decide is whether to do away with the entire municipal solid waste ordinance. Resident Bob Johnston and others recently circulated a petition asking to have the entire ordinance reconsidered. Last week, they presented town officials with more than 100 signatures of voters who support revisiting the issue.

Selectmen, however, decided the entire ordinance did not need to be revisited. It is the $1.50-per bag fee that people seem most concerned about, they said Monday.

Johnston told selectmen Monday that voters deserved the chance to reconsider the entire new municipal solid waste ordinance, which was approved at a special town meeting last August. He said such issues are best decided by private ballot votes at the annual town meeting. The 40-39 vote last August that authorized the ordi-nance was too close and had too few participants to represent adequately the wishes of the electorate, he said.

Selectmen and others at the meeting, however, countered that the special town meeting had ample advance notice. Still, because there seemed to be some concern about the trash bag fees, they agreed to have voters reconsider that part of the ordinance.

The board voted 5-0 Monday to have the question of whether to continue charging trash bag fees put on the warrant. About 15 people, not including selectmen and town office staff, were at Monday’s meeting to witness the selectmen’s vote.

According to Gouldsboro Town Manager Yvonne Wilkinson, the question will be presented to voters at the open session of annual town meeting the evening of Wednesday, June 10. Elections are scheduled to be held the previous day, Tuesday, June 9.

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