Selectmen answer questions about recycling

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro trash hauler Tom Richards attended the Aug. 23 Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting to ask what he should tell his customers about the future of recycling as the town waits for the new Fiberight trash facility, in Hampden, to open.

Selectmen said tell them steady as you go until everyone figures out what’s going to happen. That means, board member John Melrose amplified, continue to separate and flatten cardboard and continue with single-stream recycling.

Town Manager Mary Sabins and Selectboard Chairman Lauchlin Titus were among municipal officials who took advantage of Fiberight’s invitation to visit the new plant. They agreed it’s big.

Opening date is still in question. So are recycling plans, especially since the international recycling market has tanked now that the People’s Republic of China has practically stopped taking recyclables.

Fiberight has not set final tipping fees for solid waste or for recyclables. Titus expects Fiberight will charge lower fees for recyclables, but because Vassalboro does not compact them, trucking will be less efficient and more expensive than for solid waste.

  • Some years ago, Sabins remembered, selectmen commissioned an engineering study on adding a second compactor for recyclable materials. They learned providing space would require an expensive redesign of the facility.

“We’re all in transition,” Titus told Richards, promising to share information his customers can use when the selectmen have any.

Audience member Melissa Olson suggested adding recycling instructions to the Vassalboro website. Transfer station Manager George Hamar thought it a good idea once Fiberight supplies information.

Hamar raised another transfer station issue, asking for and getting permission to sell two no-longer-used metal containers for $400 each. The income, he said, would cover the increase in the price of the new roll-off container voters authorized at the June town meeting.

In other business Aug. 23, Melrose had done research on the East Vassalboro park and adjacent lot with the former schoolhouse, in response to resident Steve Jones’ offer to donate Fieldstone Garden trees. He said the land once housed the First Baptist Church and the park had been a cemetery; the graves were supposedly moved years ago, but he recommended “some sensitivity about digging there.”

In consultation with the Vassalboro Conservation Commission, the China Region Lakes Alliance and the China head of the LakeSmart Program, Melrose came up with recommendations: remove the fence between the two lots, but not the fence along Outlet Stream; remove dead and dying trees; plant the donated trees between the two lots perpendicular to the road and shore, choosing canopy trees that won’t block the view of the water; and clean up the shoreline consistent with water quality protection rules.

No public money will be spent on the work, Melrose said. All three selectmen approved the project.

Olson and William Pullen are concerned about vehicles driving onto the town land. Selectmen doubted a fence would be an effective deterrent; Melrose suggested a curb and Pullen said trucks would drive over it. Olson also asked for road signs designating South Stanley Hill Road and Stanley Hill Road, to minimize confusion at the four-way intersection with those two roads, Priest Hill Road and Lombard Dam Road. Selectmen asked Sabins to ask Road Foreman Eugene Field to look into the issue. The Aug. 23 meeting was scheduled to begin with a public hearing on a dangerous building situation, because two of the mobile homes in Brock’s Mobile Home Park lacked adequate septic systems. Selectmen accepted Codes Officer Richard Dolby’s recommendation to cancel the hearing, because a new septic system had been designed and was being installed. (ep)

Selectmen expect a progress report at their next meeting, which is set for Thursday evening, Sept. 6.

 
 

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