LINCOLN, Maine — Jen Graham is a busy mother of two children who doesn’t need any new expenses, but she almost laughed when she heard that town leaders had decided to charge residents $20 annually for the trash they dump at the town transfer station.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Graham said Monday. “I mean, $20 is $20, but it’s a lot better than what they could have done.”
With member Dede Trask opposing, the Town Council voted 6-1 on Dec. 9 to set the annual residential fee. Councilors tabled another proposition, to set a $51 per-ton tipping fee for commercial haulers, until their meeting on Jan. 13, Chairman Steve Clay said.
The $20 fee takes effect on Jan. 1. Under the present system, residents and businesses get a single free pass. The town charges $1 for each additional pass, Town Clerk Shelly Crosby has 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 has 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.
Clay said most residents seem satisfied with the new fee.
“It is just one thing to help with costs. A lot of towns have pay-per-bag and that can be expensive,” Clay said Monday, “so $20 was kind of a compromise between paying per bag and doing nothing.”
In Standish, Graham’s former town, residents pay $35 annually, she said. She and several other residents interviewed at the transfer station on Monday said they found the new fee reasonable.