January 29, 2014BERLIN — Tax dollars totaling $72,000 are projected to be saved because of the growing number of Berlin residents who are thinking differently about recycling, thus avoiding tipping fees of $67 a ton at the Mt. Carberry landfill, concluded Public Works Director Mike Perreault and Mayor Paul Grenier at the Jan. 20th City Council work session.
"Tipping fee expenditures are still trending lower than last year," Perreault said. "We've distributed about 650 new recycling bins. Approximately 17 percent more recycling is being picked up at curbside compared to the same time last year."
Mayor Grenier thanked Councilor "Lefty" Theberge for his enthusiastic support of increasing the City's recycling efforts. He hopes that a ton-and-a-half or two tons of cardboard could be recycled in the future, increasing the City's dollar savings.
Perreault said that he has visited the Berlin Middle School to talk with students and staff about earth-friendly recycling and he anticipates that progress will continue to be made.
The public works director also presented a detailed report on salt, sand, diesel fuel and overtime costs due to winter weather. At the winter's mid-point, Berlin appears to be holding the line when compared to the fiscal woes of communities below the Notches.
There is plenty of salt on hand. Some $76,000-plus has been spent of the $130,000 budgeted at $65.53 a ton, leaving nearly $54,000 on hand for the rest of the season.
The sand budget has taken a hit, however. Some 2,663 tons has already been delivered at $7.75 a ton, leaving a slight deficit of $1,337.
About half the projected overtime dollars have been spend, leaving a balance of $22,522.
Slightly over half the diesel budget has been spent, leaving a balance of some $28,000.
The City's plow drivers are acutely aware of the dollar value of what they are spreading and use caution and common sense, Perreault said. There is far less use of these two commodities when compared to the historic record from past decades when tax dollars were in greater supply.
City manager Jim Wheeler said Berlin does not have the luxury of maintaining a bare-roads policy.