Lincoln considers charging for trash disposal to offset rising costs

Lincoln residents would pay $20 annually and businesses $50 per ton in tipping fees at the Lincoln Transfer Station if town leaders accept recommendations mined from a recent survey.
Lincoln residents would pay $20 annually and businesses $50 per ton in tipping fees at the Lincoln Transfer Station if town leaders accept recommendations mined from a recent survey. Buy Photo
Posted Nov. 25, 2013, at 7:42 p.m.
A town resident who declined to give his name sweeps out his pickup truck at the brush pile at the Lincoln Transfer Station on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. Residents would pay $20 annually to leave trash at the station if town leaders heed recommendations made in a recent survey.
A town resident who declined to give his name sweeps out his pickup truck at the brush pile at the Lincoln Transfer Station on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. Residents would pay $20 annually to leave trash at the station if town leaders heed recommendations made in a recent survey. Buy Photo

LINCOLN, Maine — Commercial haulers would pay a $51-per-ton tipping fee and residents $20 for an annual pass to use the town transfer station if town leaders accept the results of a recent survey.

The idea behind the survey, Town Council Chairman Steve Clay said, is to help councilors decide how best to balance business and residential trash needs while saving the town money.

“It is a tough one,” Clay said Monday. “You want to be fair to everyone but by the same point the tipping fees are going to double or triple in two or three years and we have to try to save money.”

Under the present system, residents and businesses get a single free pass. The town charges $1 for each additional pass, Town Clerk Shelly Crosby said.

The $20 residential fee and $51 commercial fee is intended to cover rising management and trash disposal costs. The Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. charged $250,573 to accept Lincoln’s waste last year, town Treasurer Melissa Quintela said.

The transfer station’s total budget was $465,692, about $38,284 over expenses, Quintela said.

The town budgeted $503,381 for the transfer station this year, including $318,160 in PERC tipping fees, to stay in line with rising disposal costs that PERC officials told Town Manager William Lawrence during a recent meeting would double by 2018, Quintela said.

According to the survey results, 334 out of 526 residents, or 63.50 percent, said they would pay the $20 fee, while 84.82 percent rejected the idea of seeing the town’s property tax rate increase if town leaders don’t act in response to rising trash disposal costs.

Survey results also show that 392 residents out of 518, or 75.68 percent of those who answered the question, said they wanted commercial haulers to absorb the $51 fee. Another 396 out of 526, or 75.29 percent of those who responded, rejected the idea of being charged individually for “pay as you go” trash bags.

A council subcommittee revealed the survey results to the council last week and is set to make recommendations next month, Clay said.

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