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Tilton votes to begin pay-as-you-throw, curbside recycling pickup this summer

  • Christopher Stone reviews the town annual report during Tilton's town meeting on Saturday, March 16, 2013.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    Christopher Stone reviews the town annual report during Tilton's town meeting on Saturday, March 16, 2013. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • Assistant moderators, from left: Cenanne Sanders, Linda Burns and Vin Kondrotas remove ballots from the ballot box following the first secret ballot vote at Tilton's town meeting on Saturday, March 16, 2013.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    Assistant moderators, from left: Cenanne Sanders, Linda Burns and Vin Kondrotas remove ballots from the ballot box following the first secret ballot vote at Tilton's town meeting on Saturday, March 16, 2013. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • Christopher Stone reviews the town annual report during Tilton's town meeting on Saturday, March 16, 2013.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • Assistant moderators, from left: Cenanne Sanders, Linda Burns and Vin Kondrotas remove ballots from the ballot box following the first secret ballot vote at Tilton's town meeting on Saturday, March 16, 2013.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

Tilton residents voted yesterday to introduce a pay-as-you-throw system for trash, starting June 1.

The vote of 70-37 at yesterday’s annual town meeting approved adding $45,000 to a new fund to cover the program’s start-up costs, and means the town this summer will also begin offering curbside pickup of recyclable materials.

“It is our responsibility to conserve our natural resources for future generations,” said Marjorie Bonneville, chairwoman of the Tilton Recycling Committee. “That part is very important, along with the money.”

Under the pay-as-you-throw system, which is used in dozens of New Hampshire communities, including Concord, Tilton residents will have to buy special bags – $1 for a 15-gallon bag, $2 for a 33-gallon bag – to dispose of trash. The program, officials said, will encourage people to recycle more, which will reduce the town’s cost to dispose of trash.

“We’ve got to get things out of the waste stream. . . . This proposal provided the best method to do it, in our estimation,” said Selectman Joseph Jesseman.

A few voters expressed concern about the potential for illegal dumping and other issues related to a pay-by-bag system.

“I feel the cost of the bags is too high,” said resident Tim Pearson, who also expressed worry about the bags’ quality.

But most people who spoke were supportive of the program.

“I’m 100 percent behind this. . . . It’s tried and true,” said Pat Clark.

Residents also approved, on a voice vote, a town budget of more than $5.1 million, a 0.7 percent increase over the operating budget approved at last year’s town meeting.

The only change made to the budget committee’s recommended plan was an amendment, offered by Clark and approved on a voice vote, adding an extra $9,500 for the Tilton-Northfield Recreation Council, which operates the Pines Community Center.

As a result, Tilton will send the council $54,500 this year, $4,500 more than it did last year.

Earlier in the three-hour meeting, voters rejected, on a 125-35 secret-ballot vote, a petitioned warrant article that would have required only people who use the sewer systems to pay off the cost of building those projects.

That would have reversed the 87-52 vote at last year’s town meeting that instead spread the burden across all town taxpayers, including properties that don’t use sewer lines.

“We don’t do that for road projects. We don’t tax just those with children for the schools. . . . We all benefit from sewers,” said Selectwoman Katherine Dawson.

Residents rejected, on a voice vote, a proposal from the selectmen to spend $20,000 for a new snow storage area. And on a series of voice votes, residents approved adding a total of $141,500 to various capital reserve funds.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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