China transfer station committee agrees to budget $1,500 for travel expenses

by Mary Grow

China Transfer Station Committee members used their Dec. 14 meeting to discuss, and in some cases re-discuss, a variety of waste disposal questions.

They made two decisions.

They will reduce the 2022-23 budget request for the committee from the $2,500 agreed on at their November meeting to $1,500. They will meet again at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.

The funds requested from the town are intended to cover registration and mileage when committee members attend meetings, training sessions and similar relevant events. Committee Chairman Lawrence Sikora thinks $1,500 should be enough.

The major news from the meeting was that Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood and other town officials are considering – nothing is definite yet, Hapgood emphasized – reducing hours at the town office and the transfer station.

Currently, she said, China’s hours are among the most generous in Maine: the town office is open 45.5 hours a week and the transfer station 42.5 hours a week. Because of after-hours work, staff illness and other factors, overtime pay is frequent.

One suggestion is that the transfer station be open four days a week instead of five: Tuesday and Wednesday and Friday and Saturday. She again emphasized that the whole idea is in the conversation stage only; there has been no discussion at a select board meeting.

Other topics discussed Dec. 14 included:

  • The still-not-operating waste recycling facility in Hampden which China and many other Maine municipalities support. Hapgood repeated town attorney Amanda Meader’s advice not to try to get out of the contract.
  • How much the fee charged to Palermo residents for trash bags should be increased. Consensus was China has enough bags on hand for the next few months, and the earlier decision to wait for early 2022 information on bag prices and the consumer price index was sound.
  • Updating the five-year plan for transfer station equipment and other needs: no need to act immediately, committee members said.
  • Non-residents using China’s transfer station with RFID (radio frequency identification) tags to which they have no right. Committee members considered, without making any recommendation, checking each vehicle as it enters, or going back to the vehicle sticker system.
 
 

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