BANGOR, Maine — Starting July 1, 2014, residents will be able to recycle more items and it will cost the city less money, according to city officials.
The City Council approved during its Monday night meeting a five-year contract that will privatize recycling in the city, allowing Pine Tree Waste to take on the task at a significantly lower cost than what the city had been spending.
The city will pay Pine Tree $111,500 plus fuel expenses in the first year, beginning July 1. The full amount of the five-year contract is about $578,000.
Pine Tree handles recycling for many surrounding communities, including Brewer, Orono, Holden and Orrington.
Bangor, which now uses its own public works crews to collect, transport and sort recycling in the city, had been spending about $250,000 per year on its recycling service, according to Wardwell.
Pine Tree will pick up recyclables every other week, a proposal councilors favored because it means fewer trips for the trucks, resulting in lower costs and reduced carbon emissions.
City Councilor Josh Plourde said he was “very excited to see this service come to Bangor,” as it will improve recycling services, benefit the environment and save the city money.
Orono switched to Pine Tree’s single-stream program in July of this year and has seen its recycling rate double, according to Jim Dunning, assistant general manager of the company.
The city plans to launch a public outreach effort in the months leading up to the July switch, letting residents know what, when and how they can recycle. That will be done through fliers, mailings and perhaps TV and radio spots, Wardwell said.
In other business, the City Council voted to take possession of a home at 324 Union St. in Bangor. The property had matured tax liens against it and was severely damaged in a fire earlier this month. The building had been vacant for some time leading up to the fire.
The city likely will repair the building to bring it up to code before selling it on the market.
The council also approved a new home for the Bangor Band during Monday night’s meeting. The band relocated to the Bangor Waterfront two years after giving up its gazebo in the former Paul Bunyan Park to make way for the construction of the Cross Insurance Center.
The city will purchase inflatable band shell and risers to serve as a new portable performance venue for the band, which will reimburse the city through fundraising efforts, including a Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation grant.
Under the terms of the five-year agreement, the band may use the shell up to 15 times per year at no cost. City employees will set up, take down and store the band shell and risers at the public works facility.
After one year, the city and band may negotiate fees to be paid to the city for storage, assembly and take down.