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Selected Editorials from the Editor

Suns & Shields Christian Inspirational Writings by Rachelle Hamlin

Selected editorials from Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.


The Roberts Trap is Sprung

By:  Bill Dunne
One of the most overlooked aspects of the year just ended is the vindication of Chief Justice John Roberts -- a vindication that showed up as the national catastrophe known as ObamaCare got rolling.  Roberts may have also doomed Hillary Clinton's chance to live in the White House again... click here to read whole editorial


Fort Councilman Expresses Dissent on $40 Increase to Landfill Permit Fee


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, May 14, 2014


FORT FAIRFIELD—According to Fort Fairfield town manager, Mike Bosse, to date, as of March Tri-Community Landfill has sold 338 dump stickers for Fort Fairfield, with another 140 through the end of the town's budget year.

   Last Fall, the town's approval to increase to a $50 permit fee, from $10, went into effect with the additional $40 going toward paying for Fort Fairfield's tipping fees at the landfill, rather than relying on the tax base as a whole for that financial support, as has been done in years past. Fort's $40 portion has netted the town $13,520 to be applied toward its landfill tipping fees.  With the anticipated 140 additional permits through the end of the year, the total collected is expected to be around $19,120 which is around $5,400 short of what was projected in last year's budget.

   At the recent public hearing for Fort Fairfield's 2014-15 town budget, town councilman, John Herold spoke about his concerns regarding the higher permit fee.  “I find it a little ironic that a contract permit for a commercial trash hauler is $50.00 and the town gets half, or $25.”  Herold then noted the irony in how the permit fee for private individuals is the same as for commercial trash haulers but $40 of it nets to the town while private individuals contribute a lot less trash than a commercial hauler does to the landfill.

   “So, here we have a situation where a person brings multiple loads out to the facility every day and is only paying $50 for his annual permit, $25 of which recoups to the town of Fort Fairfield, and a private individual pays $50 for his permit to go out and haul much less in the way of weight or volume and yet $40 of his permit recoups to the town of Fort Fairfield.”

   The town of Fort Fairfield currently pays around $8,500 per month to the landfill in tipping fees for its inhabitants' share of the landfill expenses.  Contract haulers do not pay any additional fees above their annual $50 permit.  According to Bosse, if the permit were returned back to $10 the town's mil rate would have to be raised .137 mils to allow the town to collect enough money to pay landfill fees. 

   “I see some inequity going on there and I've always felt perhaps it wasn't the fairest burdening of the population as far as use versus what it costs them and I think this bears it out,” said Herold.  “I'd like to see if there's a possibility of folding in a return to the $10 dump permit fee for the private individual vehicle.  If that's what it would cost - .13 mils - so be it. That spreads equally among the tax base.    I've been in several discussions over this and it seems to me that everybody in town produces material that ends up in Tri-Community Landfill whether they haul it themselves or have a contract hauler, everybody contributes to the landfill.  I just don't see equity and fairness in the charge to the private individual of $50 when a contract hauler can get a permit for $50 he's producing an awful lot more load than one private individual.  “[A contract hauler] has business expenses, he deals with a big truck it costs money to operate it, I understand that but he's getting money for this, he's charging his customers.”

   The permit fee does not take into account how much trash is being put in the landfill by either the private individual, or contract hauler.  “It obviously doesn't appear to be quantity or tonnage based,” said Herold.  “My thought with the $10 fee is it would cover the administrative cost of registering a vehicle, getting a sticker and determining that vehicle belongs to somebody in the Tri-Community area here - Caribou, Limestone and Fort Fairfield - who is entitled to use the Tri-Community landfill facility.  It's just an identification measure.  And here, beyond that it has become a tax measure.  I know it doesn't cost $50 to process and record sticker applications.  The extra revenue obviously and admittedly is used in a budgetary, revenue sense.  I just don't see the burden falling in an equal and equitable way with the sticker being $50 and I never have. 

   Town councilman, Bob Kilcollins asked the town manager, how many dump stickers were sold at $50 compared to how many would have been sold at $10.  “I'd be real curious to find out what we lost, what we gained, where is the balance,” said Kilcollins.  “I deal with 75 to 80 percent, at times in my business, with everybody in this little town in one way or another.  The only thing I see that it really affected, that really made a difference, was the elderly.  The elderly on a fixed income couldn't afford it.”

   “It wasn't done to inconvenience people, it was done to have the users pay for what they're using,” explained Bosse.  “That's kind of the way things are going.” 

   Herold asked if there had been any noticeable increase in garbage on the sides of the roads after the permit fee had increased.  “We haven't done our Spring drive around yet,” said George Watson, FF Public Works director.  “But I have noticed more bags of garbage than before.”

   Herold then asked Bill Campbell, the Chief of Police if he had noticed or had an increase in complaints of trespassing, somebody dumping their garbage on somebody else's property?”  Campbell said his department gets a couple of those calls a year but hasn't seen any noticeable increase.”  Herold then asked Mike Jalbert, Fort Fairfield's Fire Chief if there was an increase in trash fires, illegal burning and so-forth.  “Nothing more than normal,” said FF Fire Chief Mike Jalbert. 

   Town councilman Jason Barnes spoke in support of keeping the permit fee at $50.  “Last year I supported increasing to $50 to generate the extra revenue and I guess I still support that,” he said. 

   “I think I do, too, said Town Council chairman, David McCrea.  “We were talking about this before the meeting and it isn't really a monster issue.  We could argue one way and if you guys changed your mind I could argue the other side.”  

   Herold noted that he's received an increased number of complaints over the $50 permit fee compared to other issues the town faces.  “I think I've been complained at more about that than I have anything else in my tenure as a councilor,” he said, “I don't know why that is, it just seems to have struck people wrong.”

   “More than the increase in taxes?” asked Bosse.  “Yeah,” responded Herold.

   “That's what I hear, is the increase in taxes,” said Bosse.  “The perception is out that that taxes are increasing.”

   The council took an unofficial consensus vote to see if there was support to reduce the fee back to $10.  David McCrea voted in favor of keeping the permit at $50, as did Jason Barnes.  Bob Kilcollins was indecisive, waiting to see more information.  Of the four councilors present at the budget hearing (Sue LeVasseur was absent), Herold was the only council member who indicated he would like to explore ways to return the permit fee back to $10.

   “We either instruct Mike to leave the $50 in and bring it back to us next time,” said McCrea.  “I guess we could still change it then but we could instruct him to leave it alone and whatever information we can gather with regard to projection of how many stickers will be sold, the best we can do, and make final instruction at our next meeting to leave it at $50 or bring it back to $10.  If we bring it back to $10 then we're going to have to come up with $20,000.”







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