On recycling: Thanks, no thanks

By Lisa Williams Ackley

Staff Writer

Earlier this year, Selectman Paul Hoyt had an idea that was called a “win-win” situation, when he suggested that two local nonprofit organizations could make up funding cuts the town made to their annual funding by helping to increase the community’s recycling rate.

Back in May, Hoyt suggested that the Bridgton Community Center and Bridgton Public Library could both reap financial benefits by helping to educate the public on the need to recycle more.

“Paul Hoyt developed a very creative plan that would educate the citizens of Bridgton regarding recycling and, if successfully executed, would also provide some financial incentives to both the Bridgton Community Center and the Bridgton Public Library for Fiscal Year 2013. Preliminary discussions with both entities indicate a strong willingness to develop details of such a plan,” Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said at the time.

‘Thanks, but no thanks’

However, at Tuesday night’s Bridgton Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Steve Collins, president of the Community Center’s Board of Directors, turned down the offer made by the town, on behalf of both the Community Center and the Library.

Collins announced that both boards of directors — the Library’s and Community Center’s — “met separately” and wanted to thank the board of selectmen.

“Both boards met separately and concluded independently that it’s really pretty remote from our mission statements and the staff (at both the Community Center and Library) are stretched.”

Collins went on to say that “to do anything at all,” would take a great deal of time and effort and said, “It is also doubtful it would make a dent in an increase in our recycling rate.”

Stated Collins, “Unfortunately, it appears to us, unless we could become the Recycling Nazis — and Fitzy (Transfer Station Manager Robert Fitzcharles) has been beating the (recycling) drum and it (the recycling rate) is at 24 percent…Thanks, but no thanks — we don’t see a whole lot of upside in taking it on.”

Both organizations would be willing to assist the Recycling Committee, Collins said, but not in the capacity suggested by Selectman Hoyt.

Later on in the board’s meeting July 26, Hoyt told his fellow board members, “I would like the board to consider putting out the recycling proposal to other groups. If it didn’t work for them (the Community Center and Library), that’s fine.”

The selectmen said they would be interested in hearing from any other organization that might be willing to assist the town in increasing its recycling efforts.

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