I recently attended my first Waterville City Council meeting to learn more about the proposed pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) trash disposal system.

I actually didn’t learn much new information about PAYT, but I did learn that many people aren’t keen to fix a system they don’t see as broken. I can understand that philosophy, but so much in our city budget is broken. Sure, as it stands right now, the city’s trash collection practice isn’t broken. That’s because the contract isn’t up until 2018, so our costs won’t rise until then. In that respect, proposing that we pay for bags to save the city money does feel like a tax increase.

The way I understand it, however, is that our property taxes are going to go up. The question isn’t if, it’s how much? When looked at this way, we can see something that’s broken that the pay-per-bag can begin to fix. If instituting PAYT can at least mitigate the tax increase, I can make changes at home to make sure my burden for paying for bags is small.

I’ve taken this as a personal challenge to decrease my own waste. We already recycle in our household, but food scraps go in the trash. This is unnecessary, so I plan to compost. I’m already inspired to look at places where I can make changes. Imagine the inspiration if PAYT is enacted, even if it’s only inspiring in the I-want-to-buy-as-few-bags-as-possible kind of way.

Like most Waterville residents, I would much prefer a lesser financial burden. Waterville residents, however, have much more in common, like the fact that we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. So as one city resident suggested: We need to get creative and proactive. In my eyes, the PAYT system is both.

Carrie HallWaterville

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