CHINA — Many residents are ready to change their waste disposal habits, including doing more recycling, in order to keep costs down at the town’s transfer station.

That was among the key findings of a residents’ survey concerning the transfer station discussed Monday by selectmen.

The goal of the survey was to find out what residents think should be done to help control solid waste disposal costs in light of increasing fees for sending trash to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company’s incinerator.

Resident Susan Cottle, who helped draft the survey last summer and collected and analyzed the results, told selectmen that a majority of survey respondents are ready to change their habits, though they did not offer selectmen a clear mandate to institute a pay-per-bag trash disposal system.

The survey — which was made available at several public locations, included in a local publication, and mailed to a random sample of residents — was filled out by 524 China residents. The town’s population is about 4,300.

Asked what change respondents preferred, only 50 people listed pay-per-bag as their first choice or one of their top choices. The most popular option, checked 147 times, was to charge no trash fee to residents who brought any amount of acceptable recyclable materials.

The second most popular idea, checked by 136 respondents, was to allow every household a certain number of free bags of trash and charge only for extras.

Another 50 respondents made comments or suggested other options, making their answers part of the detailed appendix that consumed much of Cottle’s time.

Cottle repeatedly asked selectmen Monday if they had specific goals, such as how much money want to save.

Board Chairman Peter Foote suggested establishing a committee that might create such goals.

A committee gathered Monday before the selectmen’s meeting to review social service agencies’ funding requests to voters at the annual Town Meeting on March 24.

The committee did not finish its work and is scheduled to meet again at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

As a result, selectmen couldn’t set the Town Meeting warrant in its final form. They did make adjustments to three articles:

* At the request of Library Services Committee Chairman Gary Nichols, selectmen removed a request for $13,478 for a town librarian from the library funding article. Instead, they added $1,500 to one of the town administration articles to support a library feasibility study committee.

* Selectmen further adjusted the library article by cutting recommended funds for the Albert Church Brown Memorial Library from $4,500 to $2,250, because the library derives income from a trust fund. The proposed allocation for the South China Library, which has no endowment, remains at $4,500.

* At the request of China Historical Society President Neil Farrington, selectmen added $1,500 for the society to go toward publicity and membership recruitment. That article now requests $6,000, with the rest of the money to be used to maintain the old town house, where the society has a museum.

In other business, selectmen added three members to the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee: Gail Britton-Kojigian, Dale Worster and Carrol White.

Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said the committee has a workshop session scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today and a full meeting at the same time Wednesday, Feb. 8, both in the Town Office meeting room.


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