An early casualty of the coronavirus was Boothbay Region Refuse Disposal District’s recycling program. District officials suspended the program due to concerns about spreading the virus, but the program will resume after the Memorial Day weekend. Station Manager Steve Lewis announced May 14 during the district’s trustee meeting that recycling would begin May 26, and the center would return to a “more” regular schedule after the holiday. The transfer station reduced hours by closing on Wednesdays and one hour earlier each day in response to a reduced workload caused by the state lockdown. This resulted in staff working split schedules and reduced hours. “We’re going back to a more normal schedule after Memorial Day. I don’t think the traffic is there to stay open until 5 p.m., but we will be open on Wednesdays and that means no more split schedules,” Lewis said.
The new schedule is Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. District officials expect more trash as local restaurants will open to dine-in customers in June. Lincoln is one of 12 Maine counties allowing dine-in customers if they follow Center for Disease Control guidelines and practice social distancing.
Trustees discussed how the suspended recycling program impacted the district’s bottom line. Lewis explained there is an associated cost to recycling, but in the long run, the extra work saves taxpayers money. “It would cost us $1 million more annually in extra tipping fees without recycling. So, in a way, recycling does pay off,” he said.
With less trash, the district lost substantial revenue due to the state’s restriction against non-essential businesses operating. A major revenue source is from Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor and Southport restaurants. Lewis reported Giles Rubbish went from daily to weekly restaurant pickups. The revenue loss is impacting both BRRDD’s and Giles Rubbish’s bottom line. Lewis proposed seeking a line of credit or loan to offset what district officials believe may be a short-term cash flow problem as the fiscal year’s end nears. Trustees voted unanimously to authorize Lewis to seek either a line of credit or loan for up to $125,000 for Giles Rubbish.
Trustees also discussed selling a hook truck. Lewis described an older truck as being in “rough” condition needing a new battery and possibly an alternator replacement. Trustees discussed selling the truck to Southport for transporting refuse and cardboard.
The transfer station is closed Memorial Day. Trustees meet next at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 11.