CHINA — Disgruntled commercial trash haulers got attention, occasional arguments and no satisfaction from China selectmen Wednesday.

Their problem is the increase in fees for commercial trash brought to the China transfer station.

In March, selectmen voted to raise the fee from a penny a pound to four cents a pound, effective July 1, which would mean an increase from $20 a ton to $80 a ton.

Mickey Wing of Central Maine Disposal said his typical monthly payment to the town has gone from around $900 to around $3,600.

Wing said he will need to pass on the increase to his 69 China customers.

He and his colleagues argued that fee increases should be shared by those who bring their own trash to the transfer station, not placed entirely on individuals and businesses who hire a commercial hauler.

Selectmen had two motives for their March decision. They offer a two-cent-a-pound rebate for recyclables, hoping to promote recycling; and they are preparing to deal with anticipated sharp increases in solid waste disposal costs when Maine municipalities’ contracts with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company expire in 2018.

Joining Wing in the protest were the other three commercial haulers who serve China customers: Danyl Hoague of Kennebec Disposal, Tom Richards from Vassalboro and Fred Curtis. Hoague and Richards said they doubt they can continue to operate in China unless the four-cent fee is lowered.

Selectmen made no decision.

Meanwhile, they have circulated a survey asking China residents about solid waste and recycling, which is not due back until early August.

Also Wednesday, selectmen:

* set the 2011-12 tax rate at $11.90 for each $1,000 of property value, down 20 cents per $1,000 from the 2010-11 rate of $12.10;

* reappointed town officials and committee members for the new fiscal year that began July 1;

* accepted the resignation of health officer Lisa McLaggan, with appreciation for her services;

* approved the sale of three tax-acquired properties to the higher of two bidders for each property.

Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said two bids cover all past due taxes and fees and the third bid falls only about $13 short.

In other business, William Seekins and Stephanie Foote continued discussion about improving composting at the transfer station, and advised creating better facilities for yard waste before trying to add food waste.

Elizabeth Preston again discussed preliminary plans for a teen center in the basement of the old town house. She asked selectmen for a list of questions she has not yet addressed.

L’Heureux said a town resident who was born in 1910 appears to be the next in line to hold China’s Boston Post cane, unless someone older comes forward soon.

Mary Grow is a Kennebec Journal correspondent who lives in China.


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