Trash, snowplowing top Brewer budget discussion

Posted May 19, 2010, at 12:33 a.m.

BREWER, Maine — Most of Tuesday’s two-hour budget hearing dealt with proposals to reduce city costs by changing how trash and recycling are handled and discontinuing side street snowplowing during the middle of the night.

Councilor Manley DeBeck, who lives on Goupee Street, said he probably won’t be affected by the snowplowing change, which would cut side street snowplowing between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., but he was concerned for others, especially those with health issues.

“If someone is having a heart attack” and his road is not plowed, “that bothers me considerably,” he said.

Resident John Goodness said his daughter lives on School Street, which is a side street, and he’s concerned for her because she gets out of work at midnight. He added that a neighbor of his daughter also works at night.

“You are going to have problems with those people on School Street getting in and getting out,” he said.

Rep. Michael Celli, who lives on Gettysburg Avenue, said even when the side roads are plowed there sometimes are issues for drivers on his street.

City Manager Steve Bost said the council could revisit the issue and make changes as needed.

A good portion of Tuesday’s budget meeting dealt with explaining a proposal to change to a pay-as-you-throw trash program and a biweekly single-stream recycling program, which would not begin until January 2011.

Finance Director Karen Fussell explained that under the two-pronged program residents would be able to recycle a lot more and therefore throw away a lot less.

Unlike the current recycling program, “there is no sorting required,” she said. “You don’t have to take labels off, you don’t have to take lids off. You don’t have to bundle newspapers.”

All residents would need to do is put the items out by the curb, and those items will be picked up and taken to a facility that would sort them.

“It’s easy,” Fussell said.

Any remaining trash would need to be placed into bags, which residents purchase, and still would be picked up by city crews.

The projected $11.7 million municipal budget for 2011 is about $350,000, or 2.9 percent, less than last year and maintains the property tax rate at $17.95 per $1,000 of assessed property value for the third year.

The proposed fiscal year 2010-11 school budget, minus construction funds for the new school that flow through the department, is nearly $16.73 million, and represents a 1.3 percent decrease.

City councilors reviewed the budget on Tuesday and will vote on it at their June 1 meeting.

Residents also will head to the polls on June 8 to vote on the school budget.

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