County changes plastics recycling
On May 1, Lincoln County Administrator Carrie Kipfer announced no plastics would be collected in the recycling program except plastics #2 and rigid plastics.
Plastics #2 includes bottles such as those for milk, laundry detergent and bleach. Rigid plastics include children’s toys, plastic swimming pool and other consumer products. Those will still be collected at transfer stations around the county.
Foreign markets including China stopped accepting mixed plastics last year. Kipfer found a domestic market for plastics #1, which include clamshell containers and bottles commonly used to hold food, water and juice for sale. But the market was only viable if the plastics were separated at the transfer stations.
None of the transfer stations could prevent cross-plastic contamination, and one by one, asked to drop out of the plastics recycling program. Plastics #1 and plastics #3-7 should now be included in the trash. It will end up costing towns more in tipping fees, Kipfer said.
Kipfer said she had tried very hard to expand the recycling program. Lincoln County Recycling saved towns over $642,000 in 2017 in tipping and transportation fees compared to single-stream recycling used by other transfer stations. “I’m not giving up; I will keep looking for ways to recycle mixed plastics as we did before.” She is looking into a British company that uses beaded plastics to fill potholes and pave roads, but she doesn’t know enough about the program, said. “But that raises a question for me. Why aren’t we doing that here?”
Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency’s Casey Stevens announced his agency will be working with the Sheriff’s Department and schools and other facilities to create emergency plans. The impetus was the mass shootings in Florida, but it would be for natural disasters, as well, he said. The goal is to get one of the emergency plans underway before year’s end and use it as a template. It could be used by schools, large employers, hospitals, senior homes, and other places a large number of people gather in the course of a day. To further the program, Stevens received permission to send Ken Desmond to training in Massachusetts that will focus on disaster drilling.
Communications reported there were four applications for an open dispatcher job. The applicants are receiving typing and other tests. Over 500 students have received 9-1-1 classes this year in Lincoln County elementary schools. The Communications Department offered assistance to Somerset County to free up dispatchers during the recent manhunt for John Williams, who was suspected of killing Sheriff’s Deputy Corporal Eugene Cole. Williams was arrested before Lincoln County dispatchers took their turn in the rotation.
The Sheriff’s Office also offered assistance, and deputies from Lincoln County are standing honor guard over the body of Corporal Cole and will be present at his funeral.
Sheriff Todd Brackett discussed the planned satellite office in the Boothbay Town Office. He said the peninsula has the county’s largest growth in calls for service and it would be good to have deputies nearby, and office hours for citizens. He did not know when the office would open, but did not expect it to cost much to maintain.
The county will replace the railings at the Communications Center with new wrought iron, because the fencing is wobbly, Kipfer said. She said commissioners would meet July 10 instead of July 3. The county is concerned about rulemaking changes to the Maine Public Employee Retirement System including decreasing the benefit for some people already in the system.
Kipfer also announced Mary Ellen Barnes of Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission received a Small Business Administration award as Economic Development Champion of the Year at an event in Freeport May 1.
After an executive session for personnel matters, commissioners returned to open session and approved the 2018 tax commitment of $9,948,821. The budget increased $170,262 over the 2017 budget. Commissioners voted to use $170,262 of surplus funds from 2017 to offset the increase.