Tilton voters accept Pay-As-You-Throw as a cost saving measure

TILTON — By a nearly 2-1 margin, a small turnout of voters at Saturday's Town Meeting endorsed a Pay As You Throw plan for solid waste pickup.
The 70-37 standing division vote came after a presentation by Marjorie Bonneville, chairman of the town's Recycle Committee, which was established by selectmen four years ago to promote recycling to reduce the rapidly escalating costs of solid waste disposal.
She told voters that the program works in 47 other communities around the state and had helped to increase the amount of recycling and reduce the cost of solid waste disposal.
Bonneville pointed out that the cost of solid waste disposal, which is expected to continue to rise and is pegged at $312,000 in this year's budget, makes it the largest item exclusive of department salaries in the budget.
She said that the town currently has a voluntary recycling program which removes about 10 percent of the recyclables from the solid waste stream and said that the committee expects that it will rise to at least 30 percent with Pay as You Throw, saving the town thousands lof dollars.
Bonneville said that the program would see bi-weekly single stream recycling and weekly solid waste pickups of town-approved garbage bags and that it a proven, cost-effective program which was supported by both the town selectmen and the budget committee.
Selectmen Joseph Jesseman said that the committee had looked at many options and that Pay As You Throw was the best.
Some voters objected to having to pay for the specially marked bags but Bonneville said it was more fair than the present system in which those who generate little solid waste subsidize those who generate a lot.
The new system will take effect on June 1.
Voters earlier in the meeting defeated a petitioned warrant article which called for assessing sewer betterment fees only on those whose sewage enters the municipal system. Voters from the Lochmere area were especially vehement in their opposition, like Paul Byers who said that his fees would increase by $500 to $1,000 a year.
The petitioned article drew only 35 votes and was opposed by 125 voters.
Also approved was $15,000 for the Tilton-Northfield Island Park capital reserve fund, $35,000 for the highway equipment capital reserve fund, $65,000 for town roads, streets and bridges reconstruction and repair and $20,000 for a capital reserve fund.
A warrant article which was supported by selectmen but opposed by the Budget Committee and called for spending $20,000 for creating a snow storage area was defeated by a voice vote.
Voters approved a $5.1 million operating budget, which was up $25,000 over last year's.

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Paul Byers of Lochmere argues against a petitioned warrant article that would have assessed sewer betterment fees only to those connected to the municipal sewer system. The proposal was defeated 125-35 at Tilton's town meeting Saturday. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

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Tilton Voters endorsed a Pay as You Throw plan for solid waste by a 70-37 vote at Saturday's town meeting. (Roger Amsden photo foe the Laconia Daily Sun)