LINCOLN, Maine — Town contractors can continue to dump waste at the town transfer station.
The Town Council rejected a proposed town ordinance change that would stop the station from accepting waste from commercial haulers. Councilors let the proposal die by not voting on it Monday.
Councilors appeared to be swayed by protests from commercial contractors and haulers who said that the proposed ordinance would unfairly target them and not necessarily decrease the amount of commercial waste the town hauls to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington.
“If you want to take shingles or building debris from [the waste stream], that’s one thing,” said Dan Ireland, owner of Ireland Rubbish Service. “You’re not going to eliminate the trash. You’re just going to eliminate me hauling it.”
Residents would likely have started hauling commercial waste, such as building materials, to the transfer station, the haulers said. Councilor Marscella Ireland thought the ordinance would increase illegal dumping.
The town’s Budget Committee and Town Manager Lisa Goodwin proposed the ordinance change. They felt it would save taxpayers about $100,000 during the 2011 calendar year while in effect relieving the town of the burden of hauling commercial wastes to PERC.
Contractors pay a $100 fee for debris from jobs of all sizes left at the station. The town hauls debris to PERC four or five times a week, Goodwin has said. Hauling only residential debris would reduce Orrington trips to one to three a week.
Goodwin and the committee were hunting for cost savings to prevent a possible mill rate increase from 20.6 mills to 21.0 mills, which might occur if the council leaves unchanged Goodwin’s proposed $6.85 million 2010-11 municipal and school budget.
With the increase, 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. Also, PERC officials have said their municipal fees will rise soon, Goodwin said.
The rejection left committee member Byron Sanderson and David Lloyd, town Public Works Department director, saying that instituting a mandatory recycling program, with color-coded trash bags, might reduce Lincoln’s trash hauling costs. Other towns have instituted pay-by-the-bag residential trash fees and simple recycling plans, Lloyd said.
“We’re not singling anybody out [with the proposed ordinance]. There’s no simple solution,” Lloyd said after the meeting.