VASSALBORO — Selectmen would reform the swap shed at the transfer station rather than eliminate it.

The swap shed was set up to let people bring useable items they no longer needed to the station so that other people could take them home, but the facility has been abused, transfer station manager George Hamar said.

His description included people leaving broken and perhaps dangerous items, such as appliances with defective wiring; and things that should have gone into the trash, such as boxes containing broken glass.

Others wait for hours to pounce on any useable item — probably, he surmised, to put it in a yard sale.

Vehicles belonging to people perusing the swap donations block access to the recycling area, he said, and he cited arguments and fights about useful items.

Hamar was ready to end the swap program. The swap area is temporarily relocated while the new recycling building goes up, and a smaller area close to the office is causing fewer problems, he said.

Selectman Lauchlin Titus, who said he introduced the idea at a Budget Committee meeting and saw it implemented six months later, preferred improving the program.

He suggested new regulations such as limiting deposits and collections to Vassalboro residents and allowing each person one 15-minute visit daily.

Selectman Robert Browne proposed opening a swap area only one day a week. The transfer station staff suggested closing it for the winter, banning clothing and furniture, or prohibiting return of items.

The final decision was to have Hamar and his assistant develop regulations for selectmen to consider.

Selectmen did not determine who would enforce new rules. They assumed most people would cooperate, but not necessarily everyone.

Later, Town Manager Mary Sabins reported on progress on the new recycling building. It still needs doors, windows and electricity, she said. So far, she estimated, less than $28,500 has been spent, from a total budget, including grant funds, of around $35,000.

In other business:

* Selectmen finished revising the draft personnel handbook and adopted it, subject to approval by the attorney who will be asked to review it.

* Selectmen approved Recreation Committee bylaws, with the understanding they will review them again soon for final revisions.

* Recreation Director Nicole Wasilewski asked to be on the selectmen’s Oct. 27 agenda to talk about a grant application.

* Selectmen decided to take no action on drafting an ordinance restricting fireworks, now that they will be legal under state law beginning in January.

* Sabins reported that the town Energy Committee has almost finished using an energy improvements grant. Remaining work includes new lights in the North Vassalboro fire station and the Town Office.

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

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