How is this a good deal and how is it not a tax increase?

To the editor,

When the pandemic first arrived, the Town of Scarborough correctly, but what appeared to be temporarily, shut down the transfer station in the industrial park off Pleasant Hill Road. This facility was apparently managed and run by Cassela’s Waste. There was a sign hanging on the locked gate with little to no notification. But it was the right thing to do at the time. Fast forward a few months to find where the transfer station was “permanently closed.” Town residents were advised by a sign hanging on the gate of the now permanently closed transfer station they could bring their yard waste/trash to a facility in the Riverside area in Portland. Living in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood, this seemed to be an unnecessary inconvenience to have to drive an extra 15 miles round trip but one we all had to live with. Fast forward another few months and lo and behold, we were now being directed to bring our waste to the Cassela’s facility on Spring Street in Westbrook. This is still a 15 mile round trip taking about 30-45 minutes door to door and back but at least we have a way to get rid of our stuff. At least we weren’t being charged to drop off leaves and grass clippings. Fast forward one last time to yesterday, Jan. 9, 2021 and as I was getting ready to drop off one last bag of leaves, I was greeted by the nice lady that meets people at the gate. She asked me if I had gotten the sheet with the “new rates” on it. I said no and she handed me a paper that showed we are now being charged $.01 per pound for Yard Waste/Leaves and Grass with a $10 minimum.

I estimate I generate grass clippings and leaves that require around 15 trips per year to the drop off. My question is … how is this a good deal for the citizens of Scarborough? In my case, what used to take less than 10 minutes per trip, now takes 30-45 minutes as well as the additional gas expense and what used to be included at “no-charge” at the Scarborough facility is now going to cost me at least $150 per year. Some would call this a tax increase.

If the Scarborough transfer station was a money loser for the town and the deal with Cassela’s was so good, where was that reflected in our property tax bills. Why are we suddenly paying for something that was obviously at least a line item on the town budget, one I am told the taxpayers were paying $50,000 a year for Cassela’s to manage and run? Why wasn’t the arrangement negotiated with Cassela’s to not have this “deal” cost the taxpayers any additional money? Based on my calculation, I just got a 2 percent tax increase. Please help me understand that.

Doug Norton

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