China transfer station committee discusses fees

by Mary Grow

China Transfer Station Committee members spent most of their June 9 meeting talking about money, mostly small amounts.

Two issues were whether non-rechargeable batteries should be recycled, and if so, whether a fee should be charged; and whether out-of-town users should pay more than they do to use China’s facility.

The phrase “out-of-town users” means occasional people from Albion, Liberty and other towns without transfer stations (except Palermo, which shares use of China’s facility in return for an annual fee plus a per-bag fee). There was consensus they should be charged more; committee members did not discuss specific figures.

State regulations allow non-rechargeable batteries to go into the trash, Transfer Station Manager Ronald Marois said. He did not see a problem.

Committee Chairman Larry Sikora said a concentration of the batteries – “a bucket full,” he said – with their terminals touching could cause a fire. Marois said he has heard of battery-caused fires at other Maine transfer stations, but he believes the batteries were rechargeable lithium ones.

Sikora said taping over the battery terminals would make them entirely safe. He recommended publicizing the recommendation to cover the terminals in China and Palermo.

Robert Kurek, Palermo Selectman and representative on the China committee (along with newly-appointed member Chris Diesch), said a Palermo newsletter is to go out soon and if there is time and space will include Sikora’s recommendation.

Sikora was doubtful about charging a fee for non-rechargeable batteries, especially when a resident brought in only one or two. Committee member Mark Davis said if there were a fee, everyone would add them to the mixed waste.

No action was taken on the battery question, nor on Kurek’s and Marois’ suggestion of fee increases for extra-large mattresses, because they take up so much space in a truckload of trash.

Another long discussion was over the $10 refundable fee charged for a second Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card, when a transfer station user lost one and needed a replacement or wanted an additional one for a second vehicle. The issue was whether the Palermo town office should continue to keep $10 deposits from Palermo residents or hand them over to China.

Committee members agreed by consensus to leave the system as it is.

Marois said the current capital improvement project at the transfer station is building a slab for refrigerators. In the future, he would like to see the yard repaved and a roof over the compactor.

Committee member Karen Hatch, who is also volunteer coordinator for the Free-for-the-Taking building, said the building is partly reopened, after the pandemic-induced closure. She has nine volunteers to supervise it. One is building new bookshelves, she said.

Business has been slow so far, Hatch said. Clothing is not yet being accepted, because it inspires people to stay inside longer and handle the wares more. The current plan is to add it back beginning July 1.

The China transfer station will be closed Saturday, July 3, for the Independence Day holiday.

The next Transfer Station Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning, July 13.


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