STEUBEN — Voters at Town Meeting Saturday, March 12, will be wrestling with one of the major issues facing many municipalities — where to haul their refuse starting in 2018.
Voters also will be deciding on a $902,128 municipal budget, up from $864,340 in the current year.
“The difference is just increases throughout several different categories,” said Town Clerk Julie Ginn.
In municipal elections, Selectman Jim Kovacs is seeking re-election and has no opposition.
Residents attending the meeting, which starts at 1 p.m. at Ella Lewis School, also will deliberate borrowing $600,000 to repair roads, specifically five miles on the Unionville Road.
“We decided to go for the road loan because I think we’re going to get more bang for our buck with fuel prices down,” said Chris Bell, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. “We want to do it while fuel prices are low and asphalt is cheap.”
He said that if the bonding is approved, there should be enough left over to pave 1 to 1.5 miles of roadway elsewhere in town.
The town currently has $131,467 in outstanding bonds. Borrowing $600,000 at 3.5 percent over five years would cost taxpayers $64,000 in interest.
The warrant article on the refuse issue is about whether to go with a new waste-to-energy plant proposed by the Municipal Review Committee in Hampden or stay with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington.
The warrant article states that selectmen recommend joining the Hampden plant, but Bell said the board had received additional information and were now reconsidering their decision.
“We’re waiting for some hard numbers before we make a decision,” he said. “The problem I have is signing a contract before a plant is even built. We’re trying to decide what is in the best interests of the town.”
Steuben was among the first members of the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co.
The Municipal Review Committee acts as an agent representing its 187 member towns and cities.
Each of the municipalities will be deciding the same issue over the coming months.