Fee for commercial trash shot down

By Becky Pritchard

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BAR HARBOR — A proposal to install weigh scales at the town’s transfer station and begin charging commercial haulers was rejected by the town council Tuesday in a unanimous vote.

The vote went against the recommendation of the town’s Recycling Task Force.

There is currently no charge for commercial or residential disposal of municipal solid waste. The task force first presented the idea of instituting a commercial disposal fee of $47.50 per ton at the June 19 council meeting. They suggested that rate only apply until the town raised enough funds to pay for the scales required to charge a commercial disposal fee. After that, the town would charge $25.00 per ton.

The council had tabled discussion of this at its June 19 meeting.

In discussion, most counselors were against the purchase of scales, which would cost an estimated $80,000.

A vehicle sticker program to identify residents using the transfer program was unanimously approved by the council in June. Stickers will be made available to people who have proof of residence in town, such as a utility bill.

Councilors discussed whether charging for trash would incentivize residents and businesses to recycle more. Recycling used to generate revenue for the town, but currently the town pays for disposal of both waste streams.

Beth Gott of Gott’s Disposal, a commercial hauling company, said the town needs to get the word out about single sort recycling in order to encourage more people to recycle.

Councilor Joe Minutolo mentioned that he recycles at his home and business because it is important to him, but it is not easy.

In a memo ahead of the June 19 meeting, Town Councilor Knight wrote that he thought this fee is “a lot of effort for the revenue generated … charging for all waste would be a fairer system.”

The council has voted down previous proposals for pay-as-you-throw or other schemes for charging for trash disposal.

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