CHINA — Selectmen modified their fees for trash brought to the transfer station by commercial haulers Monday.

Residential trash will now be charged a penny a pound, the price that was in effect for all commercially hauled waste until July 1. On Jan. 1 the price will become two cents a pound.

The rebate for recycling will increase from two to three cents a pound.

The four-cent-a-pound fee instituted July 1 for commercial solid waste remains in effect.

The four commercial haulers say the July 1 increase for commercial waste from $20 to $80 per ton means increasing their charges to customers in the middle of many business owners’ budget year.

Selectman Neil Farrington presented the motion Monday that distinguishes residential trash from businesses’ trash.

Farrington’s rationale is that a business owner makes money in the course of generating waste, while a householder does not. Also, he said, picking up commercial waste is less trouble for the haulers, because they make fewer stops to get a truckload.

To make his plan work, Farrington asked haulers to provide lists of customers to show who’s residential and who’s commercial.

Mickey Wing of Central Maine Disposal, who has been the haulers’ principal spokesman, objects to the new plan.

Wing’s position is that if China officials charge fees for any waste brought to the transfer station, they should charge for all waste — whether brought by a commercial hauler, business owner or householder. The business owners who use a commercial hauler pay taxes to support solid waste disposal just like other residents, he said.

“All I want is a level field,” Wing said repeatedly.

On the practical side, Wing said he picks up both commercial and residential waste on the same trip, and cannot afford to cover each route twice for separate pickups.

Farrington indicated willingness to discuss a formula based on Wing’s estimated proportions of commercial and residential waste.

Wing also said the 3-cent rebate for recycling is nowhere near enough. If selectmen seriously want to encourage recycling by commercial haulers, the rebate should be at least 10 cents a pound, Wing said.

The new plan was approved after more than an hour’s discussion by three of China’s five selectmen: Farrington, Paul MacDonald and board Chairman Peter Foote.

Irene Belanger voted against it, saying she opposes the doubling of the residential fee at the beginning of 2012. Joann Austin was absent.

Farrington agreed the issue might be revisited in the fall, after the current survey of residents’ opinions on solid waste management has been tabulated.

Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said copies of the survey are available at the transfer station, Town Office and town website. The deadline for returning the form is Aug. 8.

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

 

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