Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 22, 2014
Castine’s trash rates to increase; zero-sort recycling explained
by Anne Berleant
Zero-sort recycling questions are in the air, according to one resident at the selectmen’s May 19 meeting. The new system went into effect on May 1, and Town Manager Dale Abernethy said all information is available on the town website (castine.me.us).
In short, all recyclables may be combined in one container or in clear plastic bags for usual pick-up as follows: magazines, phone books, newspapers, including shiny inserts and brochures; file folders and office papers; paperboard from cereal, pasta and tissue boxes; cardboard; paper cartons from milk, juice and eggs; plastic containers #1-#7; large, rigid plastics like buckets and laundry baskets; aluminum, tin and foil cans; and glass bottles, all rinsed, broken down or flattened as appropriate. Recyclables pick-up remains free of charge, and may also be dropped off at the transfer station.
However, rates for using the town transfer station are going up, after selectmen approved a new fee schedule effective on June 1.
“In no case do we make enough money to pay the attendant and public works,” said Abernethy, when asked whether the transfer station paid for itself.
“We’re not even breaking even,” said financial officer Karen Motycka.
The town will return to a two-size household garbage rate, with 33 gallon/35 pound stickers costing $2 and 13 gallons/15 pound stickers costing $1. All current stickers, good for any bag up to the larger size, will be honored.
The cost for many appliances and furniture and for demolition debris has also increased. The new rates go into effect June 1 and will be posted on the town website.
The managers of the Manor Inn, seeking abatement for an oversized sewer bill, found it when selectmen approved their request. They had returned during winter to an external hose bib that had frozen and then burst. The result was a $1,302 water bill. But, they requested their sewer bill be lowered “to reflect historical past usage,” they wrote.
The excess water did not flow into the town’s sewers, selectmen had determined before approving the abatement for the sewer bill.
Further agenda items included approving an Arbor Day proclamation submitted by the Castine Garden Club—“I support it; it’s my birthday,” said Selectman Gus Basile, of the May 24 event—and a request by the historical society to borrow selectmen’s meeting minutes illustrating the board’s resistance to the War of 1812. The society’s upcoming exhibit marks the 200th anniversary of the British Occupation of Castine.
A discussion of a purchase by the Hatch Community Youth Fund of 70 pairs of cross country skis, boots and poles from a Vermont lodge opened questions of storage and liability.
“We thought it was an opportunity for Castine,” said HCYF board member Gil Tenney, adding that the board consulted the town recreation board for input on its decision to purchase the equipment.
The town attorney is reviewing language that will exclude the town from any resulting liability, leaving finding a permanent storage area as “the most important issue,” Tenney said.
“We have enough skis to accommodate a wide Peninsula effort,” he added. “It would be a great opportunity to bring the towns together” for an after school activity.
Finally, a citizen asked for an update on the search for a town manager to replace Abernethy, who announced his retirement on or around July 1.
“We’re still in the interview process,” said Chairman David Unger. “I’d say we’re on schedule.”