WATERVILLE — Residents will be able to recycle items such as paper, plastic, cans and glass starting July 1 at Shredding on Site at 46 Armory Road.

The recycling will be done at no cost to the city. City councilors voted 6–0 recently to authorize City Manager Michael Roy to work with Shredding on Site owner Craig Lefebvre to develop a recycling program there.

Residents have been recycling at Skills Recycling on Industrial Park Road, but Skills announced last month it will stop taking recyclables as of July 1.

However, Skills will continue recycling computers, television and other electronic items at the Industrial Park Road center, located about 100 yards from Shredding on Site.

City Manager Michael Roy said a one-year contract between the city and Lefebvre will stipulate that either party may quit the agreement with a 60-day notice if things don’t work out.

The city plans to recycle with Lefebvre while exploring other options, including single-stream recycling and curbside recycling.

A committee to include Roy; Council Chairman Erik Thomas, D-Ward 4; and Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, will research recycling options.

City officials in the past deemed curbside recycling would be too costly for the city, but resident Stu Silverstein told councilors at a May 21 meeting that in the long run, the city would save money because its solid-waste stream would be reduced.

Jim Dunning, assistant manager of Pine Tree Waste Services, told councilors that the company’s transfer station on Airport Road could offer the city single-stream recycling.

The city has paid Skills $12,500 a year to recycle at Skills.

Skills is ceasing the recycling of paper, plastic and other items because the organization has lost more than $400,000 on recycling operations in the last six years and expects to lose $90,000 to $100,000 this year, according to Thomas Davis, Skills’ chief executive officer.

In other action recently, councilors voted to authorize Roy to negotiate with the state Department of Transportation for replacement of a culvert on West River Road. The city will spend up to $10,000 from its annual road repair budget for the project. The culvert, which is 4 feet in diameter and collapsing on one end, is just north of the Webb Road intersection.

Initially the city planned only to repair the culvert, but DOT officials recommended a complete replacement with a pipe that is 5 feet in diameter, according to Public Works Director Mark Turner. DOT will spend $60,000  to $80,000 on the project.

Councilors also voted 4–2 to give $5,000 from the downtown tax increment financing fund to Common Street Arts. Two more votes are needed to finalize the funding.

Councilors Fred Stubbert, D-Ward 1, and John O’Donnell, D-Ward 5, opposed the funding, with Stubbert saying doing so would set a dangerous precedent.

The city decided several years ago to limit funding of outside agencies, he said.

“I support what they do, but I don’t know if we’re opening the flood gates by doing this,” Stubbert said.

Others said the art gallery and teaching space draw many people to the city, are a source of economic development and support the city’s goal of being an arts and culture center.

“It’s not an unprecedented thing,” Thomas said. “I know the impact that these sorts of enterprises have.”

He said the city has supported the Waterville Opera House, the Maine International Film Festival and other organizations.

Emilie Knight, membership coordinator of the Common Street Arts Advisory Board, said having the city support the gallery creates leverage when Common Street seeks grants from other entities.

“There’s a lot of power there; and right now, that’s what we need,” Knight said. “We need support from this community before we ask elsewhere.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]

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