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 possible fines for any non-resident caught putting items into Augusta recycling collection bins is the latest change to the city’s recycling program in response to what officials said is improper use of recycling bins. Councilors will meet to take up the proposal at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at the 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 people from other towns who work in Augusta and drop 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 _ to remove collection bins from the city’s two unmonitored locations outside Augusta City Center and the police department – should go a long way toward preventing 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.

Hatch Hill landfill is used by Augusta residents and residents of several surrounding towns that 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 Augusta 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 non-residents 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.

 

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