June 21, 2018
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Rockland council rejects repeal of pay-per-bag law; voters to decide in November

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Saying the voters should decide, Rockland City Council voted unanimously Monday night against the proposed repeal of the mandatory pay-per-bag trash disposal law it approved last month.

Mayor Larry Pritchett last week sponsored the repeal proposal, pointing out opponents collected more than 700 signatures in fewer than two weeks to force a referendum in an effort to have voters repeal the pay-per-bag law. But he joined with the other councilors Monday night in rejecting his own proposal.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson, who voted against the pay-per-bag trash disposal system on July 14, when councilors voted 3 to 2 to approve it, said there likely will be a large turnout in November and said voters should have their say.

She still opposes pay-per-bag law, she said, adding that if it is rejected at the polls Nov. 4, the city needs to work on enforcing mandatory recycling.

Councilor Dr. Eric Hebert said he remains supportive of pay-per-bag law and was opposed to its repeal by the council. He said the law would encourage recycling.

Councilor Frank Isganitis said the pay-per-bag law is like having an electric meter on your house: You pay for what you use.

The council is scheduled Sept. 8 to formally place the citizen-initiated repeal referendum on the municipal ballot.

A previous City Council also approved a mandatory pay-per-pag law in 2006. But a petition drive then forced a referendum, and residents repealed the law by a 959-479 vote in June 2006.

Rockland has been considering a pay-per-bag system since 2001.

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