AUGUSTA — City councilors will consider a proposal to institute a $500 fine for any non-residents putting items, whether they are recyclable or not, in recycling collection bins meant for use by residents.

The proposed ordinance specifying that any non-resident caught putting items into recycling collection bins meant for the use of residents could be fined is the latest change to the city’s recycling program in response to what officials said is improper use of recycling bins. Councilors meet to take up the proposal at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

On Dec. 20 councilors voted to eliminate two of the city’s four recycling drop-off locations, the only two that are available for use around the clock seven days a week.

City Manager William Bridgeo said there are already signs at the drop-offs saying the bins are for use by residents only. But he said there has been evidence of non-residents using the bins, such as residents from other towns who work in Augusta dropping off their recyclables in the city.

At-Large Councilor Corey Wilson asked for the new ordinance and fine, he told councilors when they last discussed the issue, to deter out-of-towners from putting their items, recyclable or not, into bins meant for residents.

“I want it to be very clear, and a $500 fine,” Wilson said.

Bridgeo said the proposal approved by councilors previously, removing collection bins from the city’s two unmonitored locations outside Augusta City Center and the police department, should go a long way to prevent non-residents from putting items into bins at the remaining collection sites, which are more closely monitored by city workers.

He said workers at the public works site, one of two remaining locations where recyclables can be dropped off by residents, will also randomly check with users of the bins, to make sure they are residents of Augusta.

“If we limit our collection sites to Hatch Hill and (public works) we will dramatically reduce the ability of non-residents to do that,” Bridgeo said. “We’re not going to ask everyone, but will randomly check and people could be ticketed for theft of services if we find somebody doing it who is not a resident.”

Hatch Hill landfill, the other location in Augusta which will still have recycling collection bins, is used by Augusta residents as well as residents of several surrounding towns which contract with Augusta to allow trash, and recyclables, from residents of those towns to be taken to Hatch Hill.

The proposed new ordinance would also make it a $500 fine for anyone, including Augusta residents, who “deposits non-recyclable material or removes any material from such locations or otherwise fails to properly deposit or tampers with recyclables.”

Getting rid of the single-sort recycling bins from the parking lots outside City Center and the police station was recommended by Bridgeo and Lesley Jones, public works director, because too many people are putting non-recyclables into the bins, people have left items outside the bins when they are full, and nonresidents have been using them to get rid of their unwanted items. The city, and other users of ecomaine’s recyclable sorting facility in Portland, is charged a fee if bins of recyclables sent for processing there contain too many non-recyclable items.

Wilson had asked that the $500 fine for misuse of the bins be included in the previous change approved by councilors Dec. 20, but Bridgeo said he forgot to include that in the proposal. So councilors will consider the first reading of the fine proposal, of two readings required for approval, at their Thursday night meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to start with the annual swearing-in ceremonies for officials elected in November to take their oaths of office.

Maine Superior Court Justice William Stokes, a former Augusta mayor and school board member, will preside over the swearing-in ceremonies for new and re-elected city council and school board members.

Officials taking their oaths of office Thursday for the Board of Education, are: newcomer Michael Michaud, Ward 3; incumbent Pia Holmes, at large; and newcomer Kevin Lamoreau, at large. For the city council: newcomer Kevin Judkins, Ward 2; and incumbent Marci Alexander, at large; and incumbent Mayor David Rollins.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.