June 21, 2018
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East Millinocket expects smelly debate on transfer station hours

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Residents who want to take their trash to the town transfer station more often than three days a week will get a hearing when the Board of Selectmen meets next Monday, board Chairman Mark Scally said.

Scally said that the board’s decision to cut back transfer station hours to help make a whopping $510,000 in town budget cuts in response to the closure of the Main Street paper mill is drawing ire from residents who don’t see why they can’t use the station more often.

Some also are complaining about recyclers and other professionals who have their own keys to the station and drop off items whenever they want to, Scally said.

Scally defended the practice, saying that access makes money for the town that the town needs.

Scally anticipates a debate that will stink, and not just because it concerns refuse.

“It’s about the haves and have nots, and if I have a key, then the next guy will want one,” Scally said Tuesday. “What it is going to come down is that nobody will have a key.”

Scally was somewhat miffed that residents who might be complaining apparently cannot see that town leaders didn’t want to restrict transfer station hours or make any other cuts to town services, but were forced to by the mill’s closure, which cost the town $2.2 million in tax revenue.

The restriction of having a transfer station open only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays might be inconvenient, but it is still a necessity, he said, calling the complaints “silly stuff.”

Town leaders endured one of the most agonizing budget processes in the town’s history this spring, making a total of almost $1.2 million in budget cuts — including $497,490 in school budget money — and still face several fiscal challenges, Scally said.

Municipal leaders are banking on receiving state money, thanks to laws cushioning municipalities from sudden and severe losses of revenue caused by things such as mill closures, and also will approach Medway leaders to see about consolidating services. The consolidation won’t be to save money as much as to restore services lost by the budget cuts, Scally said.

“They are anxious to talk to us,” Scally said of Medway leaders. “They have said that they want to help.”

The selectmen’s meeting is at 4 p.m. Monday, June 11, at the town office.

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