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Burnham approves funds for transfer station repairs

By Kendra Caruso | Jun 29, 2020
Photo by: Kendra Caruso Burnham town officials listen to residents at their town meeting June 27 in Burnham Fire Station on Troy Road.

Burnham — Burnham residents discussed many line items at their 2 1/2-hour town meeting June 27. They approved funding for transfer station repairs after debating whether to provide curbside trash pickup or repair the station building.

Selectman Wayne Mitchell brought a motion to increase the budget from $150,000 to $230,000 to fund repairs to keep the building functional. It needs a new sign, portable toilet, repairs to building supports, repairs to compromised supporting walls, trees removed around the property and other repairs not discussed, according to Mitchell.

“We just want to make you folks aware that we are sitting on something deteriorating up there,” he said.

The town’s insurance company raised its deductible because of conditions it says violate state ordinances, Mitchell said. If the town addresses the issues now, it can avoid a fine for the violations, he said.

Last year the town had to pay the attendant to sit in a car, Selectman Kristy Hapworth said, because the building was not heated as required by the state.

It costs about $130,000 to repair the building, about $100,000 to contract for curbside pickup with Bolster’s Rubbish Removal and $108,000 to build a new facility, Mitchell said.

One resident said she supports not doing the building repairs and requiring residents to contract with a curbside trash company themselves. Moderator Ed Bearor, an attorney for Maine Municipal Association, said the town is required to provide a trash service for residents under state law.

One resident supported repairing the 30-year-old building because more can be disposed of at the transfer station than can picked up at curbside. He talked about the town placing dumpsters at various places once a year for residents to dispose of larger material if curbside trash pickup was preferred.

Selectmen will decide in what order the repairs will be completed. If there is money left over, then it will carry over into next year’s budget, Mitchell said.

The town voted down the option of recycling at the transfer station this year because the state tax credit was not enough to outweigh recycling costs. Selectmen said the town would spend more to recycle material than not. “You're going to spend good money to recycle,” Mitchell said.

One resident said it is not worth the cost because it is hard to know how much of the material sent to recycling centers is actually reused. The resident said it is just an extra cost to make people feel good.

In other business, the town voted to allocate $9,500 toward an engineering plan and implementation of that plan to fix the boat launch and adjacent beach. One resident offered a motion, that was passed, to raise the proposed budget to add the beach restoration.

One resident said they did not believe the boat launch was salvageable and the water at the launch is too shallow to release a boat at that location. Another resident said the engineering plan would most likely find that people will only be able to launch small non-motorized boats like kayaks and canoes at the location.

In town elections, Stuart Huff was elected selectman, Charles King was elected as the highway commissioner, Ronald Hughes was elected Maine School Administrative District 53 director and Arlene Miles was elected town treasurer. Residents voted against withdrawing from MSAD 53.


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