August 02, 2020
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

Bangor considers increasing public works fees

The city of Bangor is expected to increase the fees it charges commercial users of the landfill, customers of the fire alarm system, and people who want banners strung across Main Street.

The Municipal Operations Committee of the Bangor City Council agreed with staff proposals Wednesday afternoon and voted to recommend that the full council adopt the new fees.

“You’ve just reduced the tax increase by a quarter of 1 percent,” said City Manager Edward Barrett after the discussions of the new fees.

“You’ve been talking about cutting expenditures recently,” said James Ring, director of public works. “I’m here to talk about increasing revenues.”

The cost of keeping the Kittridge Road landfill open for commercial customers continues to rise and landfill space is becoming a valuable commodity. The Department of Public Works should cover its cost, Ring said.

To do so, he recommended that the fees be increased from $5 to $25 per cubic yard and $35 per ton. The change will bring in an additional $35,000 a year, Barrett said.

“We do have a crunch,” said Councilor Patricia Blanchette. “We want to extend the life of the landfill as long as possible.”

Asked about increasing the fees even more, Barrett said that while fewer people would be likely to haul demolition debris to the landfill, the incidents of illegal dumping would be likley to increase.

Compounding the problem, Ring said, is the fact that the landfill will fill up in about two years under current conditions. Communities are working to open a regional landfill. If that works out, it would be ready in two years.

In another area, the committee voted to recommend that the council approve doubling the charges for the municipal fire alarm system, from $140 to $280 a year.

The increase would bring in $40,000 of revenue. The city’s cost of operating the system has increased, but the fees it charges have not, Ring said.

A commercial alarm company charges as much as $1,500 a year and requires that each establishment have telephone line dedicated to the alarm.

Even with the new fees, Barrett said he doubted that the city would recover the cost of operating the system.

The final increase that the committee considered Wednesday was the amount that the Public Works Department charges to hang banners across Main Street.

The two dozen or so organizations that have banners strung across the street each year will now pay $50 for the service. It previously cost $20.


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