The City of Presque Isle’s “Pay as You Throw” Program (PAYT) began on March 7, 2011.  This system essentially requires residents to purchase specific garbage bags and encourages recycling.

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At the beginning of the program, contracts were negotiated with two local refuse haulers to collect the PAYT bags.  Those contracts will expire on December 31 of this year.

There are advantages and disadvantages of the program from the City’s perspective.  On the pro side, PAYT is f air because residents only pay for what they throw away.  This means that smaller households that do not generate as much trash or who are on a low or fixed income generally spend less with the system as opposed to a flat monthly rate charged by the waste haulers.  The city has seen a 7.9% increase in recycling AND a 25.5% decrease in landfill waste, both of which are good for the planet.

On the down side, residents may only use specific PAYT bags to participate in the program which must be purchased at a somewhat hefty cost for the orange bags.  Oversized items do not always fit in the PAYT bags and must be disposed of separately, often at an additional cost at the landfill.  For large generators of refuse, it may actually cost more for PAYT than for the flat monthly rate charged by the waste haulers.

Another disadvantage of the PAYT program is that it is not presently self-sustaining.  Revenues from PAYT do not cover all of the program expenses.  The short fall is covered by the taxpayer who pays $22 towards PAYT out of a $2,546 tax bill on a $100,000 property.

Residents are invited to share their comments with City Council at the Monday, August 1 Council Meeting.  The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 3rd floor, Presque Isle City Hall, 12 Second Street.

For more information, please visit the City’s website at http://presqueislemaine.gov/pay-as-you-throw-payt-trash-program/