Residents question new transfer station sticker policy

By Beth A. Birmingham | Jan 08, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Placement of the new transfer station stickers for the towns of Thomaston, South Thomaston and Owls Head is in question, along with a few other unknowns.

Thomaston — Operators at the Owls Head- South Thomaston-Thomaston Cooperative Waste Transfer Station on Buttermilk Lane are still working out the kinks in the new sticker policy enacted in October.

In years past, residents of the three towns could purchase stickers at their various town offices and simply show them to the attendant upon arrival at the transfer station.

With high costs at neighboring facilities, it was felt that too many of the unaffixed stickers were being used by nonresidents, according to the board, so it enacted the policy that residents must purchase stickers only at the transfer station via cash or check.

New also is the requirement that a station attendant must affix the sticker on the inside lower left corner of the front windshield.

One minor issue that has been presented is that according to Maine Legislature Title 29-A "If an inspection sticker is located on the lower left hand corner of the windshield, the other sticker must be located to the right of it."

In Maine, an inspection sticker may be affixed in the left-hand corner or in the center of the windshield behind the rearview mirror.

To date, more than 1,300 stickers have been attached -- with most of those being affixed above inspection stickers already in place in the lower left corner of the windshield.

"You are allowed a second sticker on your windshield," Peter Lammert, a member of the Cooperative Board, explained, but it has to be to the right of the inspection sticker {looking outward from the driver's seat}.

Lammert admitted in a phone conversation Jan. 3 that the attendants had been placing the stickers above the inspection sticker.

He said after speaking with Thomaston Police Chief Tim Hoppe about the law, he made a copy of it and took it to Transfer Station Manager Reggie Vose.

Lammert noted he was looking at the sticker on his own vehicle, and it was positioned above the inspection sticker in the left-hand corner of his windshield.

When asked if that was actually legal, he stated, "Well, it's not correct."

It has been reported by some residents that the stickers since then are being placed to the right of the inspection sticker.

Hoppe had explained that some year the inspection sticker and the transfer station sticker may actually be the same color, and a quick glance at the window by an officer may not give the correct reading.

"That's why the law says 'to the right of'," Lammert said.

He said the intent of the placement is such that it is easily visible by the attendant as the resident drives into the transfer station.

Despite it being in the law books, several local law enforcement agencies reported it would be up to the officer's discretion, as the state does allow two stickers to be displayed, as long as they do not obstruct the view of the driver or the actual inspection sticker.

The question was posed to Lammert whether the Co-op would replace the sticker free of charge if an inspection station removed the transfer station sticker due to its being in the wrong place. "We haven't even talked about this yet," he said.

Lammert said he has only heard of one complaint regarding the placement of the stickers, and mentioned the biggest complaint he has heard is that most people do not want it adhered to their vehicle at all.

Another question was brought up at a Jan. 7 Owls Head Board of Selectmen meeting when Selectman Gordon Page, recently appointed to the Cooperative Board, read a statement from the board regarding its decision for the changes.

Resident Bill Leppanen asked if he sold his vehicle, but the sticker had not yet expired, would the Co-op replace it.

Bruce Colson, chairman of the OHSTT Cooperative Board, responded Jan. 10, stating, “No, they would have to purchase a new sticker” to that question and if a vehicle is damaged and the windshield needs replacing.

It is still unknown whether part-time residents of any of the three towns, who may not have a registered vehicle in their town here, could take advantage of the transfer station.

"Under the new policy, everyone who is a resident of either Owls Head, South Thomaston or Thomaston who uses the transfer station will pay 14.4 cents per week (the cost of a sticker for two years) for the privilege of using the transfer station," Page read from the statement.

"One alternative is to engage the services of a contract residential hauler," he continued.

"The board, after many months of deliberation, settled on a policy that is strong enough to eliminate the use of the transfer station by nonresidents, while keeping the costs to a minimum," Page read.

An email to Bruce Colson, board president, seeking answers to these questions was not replied to by this writing.

The stickers cost $15 and are good for two years. Prior stickers expired Dec. 31.

The next meeting of the OHSTT Cooperative Board will be held Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. at the Owls Head Community Building. The public is welcome.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Owls Head Selectman Gordon Page reads a statement regarding the new Owls Head-South Thomaston-Thomaston Cooperative Waste Transfer Station's change in sticker policy at a meeting Jan. 7. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (8)
Posted by: Bradley Ketcher | Jan 09, 2019 13:27

Great service at the transfer station, but lots of questions about this policy. Plus the stickers are big and distracting.

Posted by: Lu-Ann Hyler | Jan 09, 2019 09:37

I say it is great, got my new sticker last Saturday, all the men working there are great and do a fantastic job. My only complaint is this is my truck I pay for and where my sticker goes should be my choice not any one else's, I know they do not decided where it goes and they have to follow rules which is understandable however I hate any sticker in my left lower window, I have never liked any sticker there, it catches my eye and distracts me, I can not get use to this. my inspection goes in upper middle by mirror and my dump sticker has always gone in the lower right hand corner. I am sure some do not mind where it is but many feel as I do. I think it should be the choice of the owner where the sticker goes.

Posted by: Patricia Hubbard | Jan 09, 2019 06:31

Reggie Vose has made a huge difference in our transfer station. He and his men are now service oriented and actually come out of the little building and help us in disposal of trash and recyclables. That is a first for this station. It was stunning to arrive at the station one Saturday in November to be greeted by an attendant who came up to the car with a smile on his face (can you believe it?!) and explained that new stickers would be due soon and encouraged me to stop in the red building to purchase one before crunch time. I did so and the process couldn't have gone more smoothly. The attendant was efficient and pleasant and explained that the sticker would be placed on the lower left of my windshield and said he would install it so that all stickers would be placed in the same spot for easy recognition. As I was standing there another couple came in to purchase one and he actually apologized to that couple for a short delay while he installed the sticker on my car. It is difficult to understand what the flap is about. The sticker interferes with nothing. It is the only object on my lower left windshield. The transfer station didn't set out to make people's lives miserable. They want to help and are trying hard to do so. Thank you OHSTT Board and especially Reggie and his crew. I am grateful for the helpful attitude.

Posted by: Beverly St. Clair | Jan 08, 2019 18:11

From Scott Johnson- In my business for the last 25 years,I have been to many landfills ,transfer stations, public and private, all across the state, and I can tell you ,that the abuse that the transfer station employees take here ,would never be allowed anywhere else ,they follow the rules which the board directs them to do. Dont forget that Mr. Lammert is one of these OHSTT  board members, and the question is why did he wait half way through the sticker process,(sour grapes perhaps},I also spoke to Chief Hoppe ,and he told me GPS ,cameras, bumper stickers on the back windows etc. are also a no no.. Things hanging from your rearview mirror,are also no no's .Papers on your dashboard covering half your line of sight, is probably a no no  also.I would like to ask Mr. Lammert, where in the law book does it say that its the bible, and needs to be followed to the enth degree. Help the board with these problems everyone,  they aren't bad people, and have a tough job.

Posted by: Christine H Curtis | Jan 08, 2019 17:53

Property taxes pay for the operaion of transfer station. The stickers were a dollar when we started. Also a one time purchase . Understanding increased operationing costs at the dump, the reason for the 15 bucks. One big issue  we have is many people have more than one car. Therefore people are being over charged at the very least twice for the same amount of trash due to having to sticker more than one car. The placement of the sticker is irrelevant.  Erv Curtis South Thimaston .

Posted by: Beverly St. Clair | Jan 08, 2019 17:47

I have worked with this OHSTT committee and commend them for their considerate and conscious decision making, They do not take any of their decisions lightly and work hard to keep costs down. $7.50 a year is a bargain for a dump sticker. As far as the current transfer employees go, I've heard nothing but good things, They are friendly and helpful. I'm confident that if adjustments need to be made, they will do it consciously to spite one roque member far reaching outside of the board.


Posted by: Douglas E Collins | Jan 08, 2019 17:26

Some of our local residents won't win the Nobel Peace Prize either but they like to judge and call people they don't even know names.

These folks give up their spare time (free of charge) to try to make things better and yet they have to take crap from uninvolved and ill advised residents.  If people cared that much about this subject perhaps they should have gotten off their butts and gone to a (well advertised) meeting.  Oh no, they can't do that.  Wait till everything has been decided then run their mouths...……..works every time huh?

Posted by: Eliza Alden | Jan 08, 2019 16:25

Our local officials won't win a Nobel Prize. They rushed as usual to generate revenue but forgot: what about the renters we need and rely upon in the summer?  What happens If we have to rent a car due to a breakdown?  There are dozens of other situations.  If people need to share a sticker, maybe it's because the cost is high.  Just because they mandated this doesn't make it right or sensible.  Who are these knuckleheads?



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