The pay-as-you-throw trash collection program helps residents of Waterville.

Waterville spent $750,000 of taxpayer money to pick up and dispose of trash last year. The pay-as-you-throw program saved the city $430,000, thereby preventing a tax increase. If we get rid of pay-as-you-throw, we need to get ready for the tax increase.

Pay-as-you-throw has increased recycling seven-fold and also made the cost of dealing with our trash more fair. In the past, homeowners paid for everyone’s trash removal, and we paid the same if we threw out one trash bag or 20. Withpay-as-you-throw, we all pay only for the trash we produce.

It’s also more convenient to recycle now. We can just put recyclables in a bin by the road instead of hauling them all to a shredding service, and sorting them into separate bins. If we vote down pay-as-you-throw, we’ll have no more curbside recycling.

A group of Waterville stakeholders looked at all of the options and decided this was the best choice for Waterville. This system has a proven record. More than 130 other towns in Maine have pay-as-you-throw, and our neighboring towns are considering opting in.

Currently, Waterville’s trash is burned at $60 per ton. But in 2018, that fee is expected to double. With pay-as-you-throw, we send 55 percent less trash to the incinerator, and we will need to send even less if we don’t want a tax increase in 2018. Fortunately, pay-as-you-throw is expected to save us more money this year than last.

Pay-as-you-throw has made trash and recycling collection more fair and convenient for us, while at the same time keeping our taxes down. It’s not broken, so let’s not fix it.

Richard Thomas


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