On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, Waldoboro residents will not only have a chance to weigh in on state and national issues, but two local matters as well.
A special town meeting warrant asks voters to decide whether to authorize the municipal officers to establish a mandatory pay-as-you-throw disposal method.
Speaking at a public hearing on pay-as-you-throw Oct. 11, Selectman Robert Butler said that under the pay-as-you-throw method, the users of the station pay for what they throw away on a per-bag basis.
Butler said transporting and tipping trash is a substantial part of the transfer station’s budget, and the more trash people bring to the transfer station, the higher those costs become for the member communities.
“The pay-as-you-throw system helps us to reduce the money we are spending to throw away garbage,” Butler said.
He said that with the pay-as-you-throw system, users pay for their own trash and are not taxed for other people’s waste disposal methods.
“You shouldn’t have to pay for the garbage I throw away, but that is exactly what you are doing now,” Butler said.
Butler said the goal of pay-as-you-throw is for fewer bags, less tonnage, and a decrease in the transfer station’s budget.
“With pay-as-you-throw, what your taxes are paying for is just the operation of the transfer station, not for what other people throw away,” Butler said.
He said three bag sizes would be available to residents: 15 gallons, 33 gallons, and 45 gallons.
“Projections are it will reduce the transfer station budget by $300,000 a year,” Butler said.
The selectman said the system encourages recycling and provides a two-fold benefit, as it not only reduces the amount of waste the transfer station ships and tips, but also creates revenue from the bags sold.
In addition to Waldoboro, the Knox County municipalities of Cushing and Friendship both utilize the Waldoboro Transfer Station.
A number of informational sessions, in addition to a public hearing in front of the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen, have been held regarding the potential change to a pay-as-you-throw system.
During these meetings, residents have spoken for and against the change.
Selectman Katherine Winchenbach said she does not believe voters will pass the warrant article.
“I don’t think it’s going to fly. A lot of people don’t want to buy bags,” Winchenbach said.
Winchenbach said she had concerns it would increase the amount of improper garbage disposal in Waldoboro.
The selectman said she is in favor of implementing a system that is easy for people to use and recommended single-stream recycling system as a possible path forward.
“The easier you make it for people the better,” Winchenbach said.
“A lot of people are interested in recycling, but I don’t feel you need to buy bags to do that,” Winchenbach said.
In addition to the pay-as-you-throw measure, Waldoboro voters will cast ballots on whether to authorize the Region 8 cooperative board to issue bonds or notes for a school construction project in an amount not to exceed $25 million to build and equip a new career and technical school to replace the Mid-Coast School of Technology. The new school would be at the same site on Main Street in Rockland.
Voters throughout Region 8 – the state is split into 27 regions for the purpose of career and technical education – will vote on the bond issue. The region includes Waldoboro.
The Rockland school serves, and receives funds from, 19 communities from Lincolnville to Waldoboro. Medomak Valley High School students attend classes at the school.
If voters approve the 20-year bond, Waldoboro would see an estimated debt payment of $151,322 a year, which would cause a $0.308 change to the mil rate, translating to an estimated yearly cost of $30.80 per $100,000 of assessed property value.