2018-07-12 / Front Page

Saco residents: Expect new fees at transfer station

By Abigail Worthing Staff Writer

SACO – By a narrow margin the city council approved the implementation of a fee schedule for the transfer station on Foss Road.

Prior to the change, Saco property owners could obtain a permit that would allow them to dispose of three cubic yards of material at the transfer station, free of charge.

The new fee schedule will charge $15 per cubic yard for property owners, and $30 per yard for commercial users. 

Residential permits will be available until July 13, and the new fee schedule will be put into effect as of July 14. Those with current permits have until August 4 to utilize available yardage on passes. Once the new fee schedule comes into effect, no new passes will be issued. 

As part of the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget that went into effect July 1, the council decided to stop offering free waste disposal. Residential permits will be available until July 15,and the new fee system will be in place starting Aug. 1. Property owners can obtain permits at Saco Public Works.

The city has released a chart that details the new fee schedule, which breaks down the different types of waste that can be accepted at the transfer station and the cost. It also details different units of measurement for each item. For example, waste such brush or leaves are measured by cubic yard. Fluorescent lights, however, are measured by foot. There is also a list of items that cannot be accepted by the transfer station, such as explosives, lead paint, batteries and asbestos. Grass and leaves will still be accepted for free. The transfer station operates 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The proposal was approved at the Monday, July 9 city council meeting. During public comment, Saco resident Barbara Colman said city officials should consider revisiting the fee schedule layout, as she believes it is difficult for residents to understand.

Ward 2 Councilor Roger Gay said he has received several emails from residents and had in-person conversations with constituents asking for the transfer station to be kept free to property owners.

“I have to back up the people, and because of that I will be voting no,” Gay said.

Ward 7 Councilor Nathan Johnston said while he can sympathize with residents, he looked at surrounding municipalities and their waste disposal policies and found that the proposed fee schedule in Saco is fair.

“It’s almost ironic that I have received more calls and emails over this than any other item over the last three years,” said Ward 5 Council Alan Minthorn. “I have been wrestling with how I’m going to vote all week.”

The motion to approve the amendment passed with 4-3 with Councilors Gay, Minthorn, and Ward 3 Councilor William Doyle in opposition.

Attempting to answer the concern of increasing costs to the taxpayer, Ward 6 Councilor Micah Smart said according to his calculations, instilling the fee-based system should save taxpayers money and could reduce the mil rate from $20 to $19.21 for the next fiscal year.

Ward 1 Councilor Marshall Archer said he spoke with Saco Public Works officials who informed him that of all permits granted to property owners, 50 percent end up using them, with only 2,000 residents using the transfer station a year.

“It is unfair to ask the rest of the population to pay the cost of what is only used by that percent of the population,” Archer said.

Councilors mentioned the senior citizen community as a reason to remove the cost of the transfer station from taxes, as they are perceived to not use the station and whose fixed income is impacted by increases in taxes.

“I have to once again speak up for the seniors, and that is why I am voting yes for this,” said Ward 4 Councilor Lynn Copeland.

The new fee schedule can be found on the city website.

Contact Staff Writer Abigail Worthing at news@inthecourier.com.

FMI

Visit the city of Saco website, www.sacomaine.org, to learn more about new transfer station fees, when they will be implemented and item guidelines.

Return to top