SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council at a workshop Monday night reviewed a plan that would restore recycling services to 11 condominium and apartment complexes that had the service before it was privatized.
The plan, however, does nothing to expand recycling to more than 800 other condominium and apartment units throughout the city, and councilors were divided about who should pick up the additional costs.
City Manager Jim Gailey said that Pine Tree Waste, the city’s private trash and recycling hauler, agreed to make 100 additional stops along its normal route without having to reopen a five-year contract that is in its first year.
The complexes being offered the service are Pine Knoll Condos (formerly Albany Street Extension), Ashbourne Court, the Henley, Pleasantdale Apartments, Jamestown Courts, T-Ledge, Davis Woods, Ship’s Watch Condos, Spring Point Condos, Harbor Place Condos and Tilton Apartments.
The proposal would allow more than 200 additional residences to participate in the city’s recycling program, since the recycling bins would be shared among condo owners. The bins would have to be wheeled from the interior of the complex to the city’s right of way to be picked up.
The only additional cost to the city would be for the 65-gallon recycling bins, which would cost $60 per barrel without tax and shipping.
Although no councilors supported shouldering the entire expense, Councilor Linda Boudreau suggested splitting the cost with the residents, which would require a $3,000 expenditure.
“That gives us a way to test (the condo owner’s) commitment,” Boudreau said. “Whenever you give something away, people are going to take it, whether they use it or not.”
Councilor Jim Soule suggested he would like a greater test of their commitment by requiring the condo owners to buy their own barrels. While the proposal would require a $3,000 investment by the city, Soule said it may not be long before more residents demand the service.
“We run the risk of that really slippery slope of having to open up the contract,” Soule.
Council Jim Hughes agreed, noting that any additional expense in the current economic climate would be difficult.
“It’s going to be difficult to raise and expend money if there’s no justification for it,” Hughes said.
Councilor Patti Smith said she would like to first see a needs assessment conducted by the city before deciding how the city’s recycling program should be expanded. She also questioned the city’s contention that some condo roads are substandard and unable to handle recycling trucks.
“I’m looking for tighter information,” she said.
Gailey said Wednesday he will be sending a letter to the 11 condominium complexes, asking if they want to particiapte in the city’s program and whether they are willing to carry all or some of the costs, before bringing anything back to the council.