Club Sebago requests free bulky waste drop-off

THE CASCO-NAPLES BULKY WASTE Transfer Facility is open to anyone who wants to get rid of materials that don’t fall into the category of household trash or recyclables. However, there is a fee of five cents per pound for people who don’t have bulky waste coupons. Members of the Club Sebago Association, Inc., have requested that the town provide them with bulky waste coupons, particularly since they pay property taxes. A decision was tabled until the Sept. 23 meeting of the Casco Board of Selectmen. (De Busk Photo)

THE CASCO-NAPLES BULKY WASTE Transfer Facility is open to anyone who wants to get rid of materials that don’t fall into the category of household trash or recyclables. However, there is a fee of five cents per pound for people who don’t have bulky waste coupons. Members of the Club Sebago Association, Inc., have requested that the town provide them with bulky waste coupons, particularly since they pay property taxes. A decision was tabled until the Sept. 23 meeting of the Casco Board of Selectmen. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Peter Church spends half the year in Casco, and the other six months in Florida.

While in Maine, Church lives in a gated community with amenities such as access to Sebago Lake beach and the boat launch as well as the Point Sebago Resort Golf Course. He pays fees to the association where he lives; and, in return, the household trash removal, landscaping upkeep and road maintenance is taken care of.

But, despite being a resident of Casco, he does not receive the coupons which would allow him to drop off his bulky waste at no cost.

He said he owns the deed to both his home and the property, but because the association is considered a commercial entity, he has to pay the five-cent-per-pound fee to use the Casco-Naples Bulky Waste Facility.

“I replaced the decking on my deck. Ihad 600 pounds of pressured-treated wood. I took it to Bulky Waste. I paid $33,” he said.

“I feel like I am double-taxed,” he said, adding his tax bill is $3,500 and paying $33 to the town to get rid of his hazardous debris is insulting and unfair.

Like the other residents who, for part of the year, live in the modest-sized homes in the Club Sebago Association, Inc., Church pays property taxes to the Town of Casco.

This is one of the reasons that members of the association would like free drop-off access to the Casco-Naples Bulky Waste Facility.

The request for bulky waste coupons from the Club Sebago Association came before the Casco Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night.

The discussion during the regular part of the meeting continued for about half an hour, and that much time was spent talking about the topic during the board’s workshop earlier in the evening.

In the end, the selectmen tabled the agenda item until two weeks from now — during their next meeting on Sept. 23.

The catch is that a dozen years ago, when the towns of Naples and Casco reorganized their bulky waste drop-off system, certain types of residences and all businesses were excluded from free use of the facility.

Bulky waste coupons are mailed to homeowners of single-family homes. Excluded from that list are: Residents who rent from a landlord; folks who live in an apartment complex; people who dwell in a recreational vehicle on a private campground; and those individual who own seasonal homes in a resort.

Apartments, resorts and campgrounds are considered business entities.

According to Town Manager Dave Morton, more than 10 years ago, the bill for bulky waste got out of hand. So, it was a financial decision to restructure the system so that some residents could benefit from the service while others paid a per-pound fee to use the site.

“We reduced budget from $300,000 to $100,000,” Morton said.

According to Morton, Club Sebago is part of a commercial entity with a contract zone that was approved by the Casco Planning Board more than a decade ago. Many concessions were made for these developments including reduced setbacks and decreased lot sizes for the 700- to 900-square-foot homes.

Point Sebago Resort sold the property, located just off the golf course and adjacent to the campground, to buyers who then became part of the association.

During the workshop, Selectman Calvin Nutting said he was a former member of the Bulky Waste Facility Committee.

“It has historically been treated as commercial waste. And, I don’t know why it should be treated any differently.

It would open the door for all commercial entities,” Nutting said.

Chairman Grant Plummer agreed that it was best not to open that can of worms by granting bulky waste coupons to residents of Club Sebago Association. Grant also noted this same request by the association has come before past boards.

Later, he said it was obvious that Club Sebago was different than other private homes that are used seasonally.

“Everyone would agree that it is some sort of resort. There is a gate in there – it is a gated community,” Plummer said.

As summed up by resident Pat Troy, Club Sebago is entirely unique from any type of residential living in Casco.

“I have to point out. There is a vast difference between seasonal homes around town and the seasonal homes at Point Sebago,” Troy said.

Club Sebago homeowner Dick Harding said he plays golf with summertime residents who have transfer site stickers on their vehicles and receive bulky waste coupons in the mail. Those people pay property taxes just as he does. However, those homeowners are permitted to use the bulky waste facility for free, while he is forced to pay to get rid of those materials not suitable for household trash disposal.

“I see it as a parody. You don’t ask people who have stickers or coupons if they are seasonal. You should treat everyone the same, that is what I say,” Harding said.

Prior to tabling the agenda item, Selectman Mary-Vienessa Fernandes said she would like more time and more information before making a decision.

“I would like to ask the town manager to draft a formal policy” for the bulky waste coupon users list, she said.

Also, Fernandes requested that Morton make available the practices for the towns of Naples and Otisfield.

“My problem was reviewing this because it has a long history. I am trying to see a commonality,” she said.

One of the items on the list of who does not receive bulky waste coupons is any summer resort as well as any commercial business.

Dick Harding disagreed that Club Sebago could be considered a business.

“We are not part of a corporate entity. We don’t think we are. We are homeowners. We are just like any other homeowner,” he said

“We don’t pay our taxes to Point Sebago. We pay them to Casco,” Harding said.

 

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