May 26, 2018
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Lincoln builders might face waste fee increase

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — Mark Helsor, a home contractor, figures the Town Council would cost him about $3,000 a year, and increase the price of a typical small re-roofing job by as much as $700, if councilors prevent contractors from dumping waste at the town transfer station.

“A typical Dumpster, if it’s got shingles, costs like $700. If it’s got debris, it’s like $400 or $500,” the owner of Mark Helsor & Sons Inc. of Lincoln said Thursday. “Any smaller project would be that much more [for his customers]. Any big project would cost even more because it would take more than one Dumpster.”

Helsor wondered why the town’s biggest operations, such as Lincoln Paper & Tissue, LLC, get big tax breaks that force town officials to increase the fees of smaller businesses.

“I definitely got a beef with that,” he added.

Councilors will hold a public hearing and might vote Monday on Town Manager Lisa Goodwin’s proposed town ordinance change that would stop the transfer station from accepting commercial waste. The meeting is at 7 p.m.

If passed, the ordinance change would go into effect in December. It would save taxpayers about $100,000 during the 2011 calendar year — about $45,000 during the next fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2011 — but probably would force contractors to haul waste to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington, Goodwin said Thursday.

The town charges contractors a $100 fee for debris from jobs of all sizes left at the station. It typically hauls debris to PERC four or five times a week, Goodwin said. Hauling only residential debris would reduce Orrington trips to one to three a week.

“Obviously, it will cost them [contractors] more to do business,” Goodwin said, “but I don’t know another municipality in Maine that allows commercial hauling into their transfer station.”

If the council leaves unchanged Goodwin’s proposed $6.85 million 2010-11 municipal and school budget, taxpayers would face a mill rate increase from 20.6 mills to 21.0 mills. Residents owning $100,000 worth of property would pay $2,100 in taxes annually starting July 1, which begins the fiscal year, instead of $2,060.

The ordinance change might hurt contractors, Goodwin said, but it would reduce slightly the proposed mill rate increase and would also help town waste haulers, who could be paid by contractors to haul debris.

Some savings might be achieved if the haulers work with several contractors to combine waste and haul it, she said.

Under Goodwin’s proposal, the town’s net expenses would increase $208,160 over this year’s budget — mostly due, she said, to a $182,132 decrease in state aid and other revenue and a county tax increase of $35,205.

Under the proposal, the town’s municipal gross expenses actually increase only $1,112, a testament to town managers’ work keeping costs as low as possible, Goodwin said.

Another contractor, Larry Ham of Larry Ham Construction, said he had mixed feelings about the proposed ordinance change.

“Whatever that transfer station costs the town is divided equally amongst everybody,” Ham said. “Now, any construction projects will be paid for by the people who pay for them. Maybe that’s fair, but that’s who will be affected the most.”

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