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In hopes of saving money, councilors reviewing trash disposal process

FORT KENT, Maine — In an effort to see if the community could save any money on trash disposal, councilors invited Chuck Pelletier, supervisor of the Valley Recycling Facility, to talk to them on Nov. 26 about how the transfer station operates.

“We have been talking previously about the ways our waste is disposed of through Valley Recycling of which we are a member community,” council chair Dr. John Bouchard told an audience of about a dozen attending the regular council meeting. “Because of the fairly high amount of money we spend for that, we felt we could benefit from discussing a little bit (what we may be able to do) in our community to potentially reduce that cost to our taxpayers.”

Fort Kent currently pays more than $300,000 annually for trash disposal.

“We try really hard to make your dollar go as far as it can,” Pelletier said.

Trash is transferred from the station to the Cogerno waste management landfill in New Brunswick. Valley Recycling pays to have the trash transferred to Cogerno with money contributed by four member towns — Fort Kent, Frenchville, St. Agatha and Madawaska.

Pelletier said the public can do its part to help reduce costs by bringing recyclable materials to various recycling igloos throughout town or by bringing them to the Valley Recycling Facility in Frenchville, rather than overloading trash dumpsters or garbage bags with these materials.

Audience member Cary Daigle, who said his brother Andrew Daigle used to own Daigle Sanitation, said the town spends more than necessary on trash disposal.

Cary Daigle said people often throw recyclable materials into dumpsters, including leaves and other organic materials, as well as wooden furniture and tires, which adds to the cost of trash disposal for the town.

“People are spoiled. I hate to say it, but there should not be dumpsters at residences. Once it’s in the dumpsters it’s all weight,” Daigle said, referring to how the community’s trash disposal fees are based on the tonnage of waste hauled away. “That $300,000 could be a beautiful community center.”

Councilors took no action on the topic, but agreed that councilor Joey Ouellette will put together some information regarding potential cost reduction measures for waste disposal and share them at a future council meeting.

Pelletier’s presentation was preceded by an educational video Don Raymond of WFKTV Channel 4 compiled regarding the transfer station operations. The video is available at the Channel 4 Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE57vwB4PDI.

Also at Monday’s council meeting, councilors voted unanimously to allow the Fort Kent Fire Department to spend $3,492 from the department’s reserve account to help pay for two new sets of protective firefighter gear. The gear costs more, but the balance will be covered with a Maine Municipal Association grant in the amount of $2,000.

The council also recognized town clerk Angela Coulombe with a plaque recognizing her for achieving Maine clerk status.

The next regular meeting of the Fort Kent Town Council is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10.

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