Sykesville residents have accepted a tax increase, but they may not tolerate a corresponding decrease in trash pickup.
Several attended the Town Council meeting last week to voice opposition to a proposed reduction from twice-weekly pickup to once-a-week collection.
Betty Jean Maus has lived in the town for 42 years and has seen her tax bill quadruple.
"I might agree with less pickups in the winter months, but not in hot weather," she said. "You are talking about odors and bad conditions for the crews."
The initial suggestion to cut back pickups came from the town's Recycling Committee. That panel has heard the outcry.
Councilwoman Julie Kaus, committee chairwoman, said that when the committee addresses the council next month, it will endorse keeping pickup at twice a week.
Mayor Kenneth W. Clark said the expectation that the county would raise tipping fees to $53 per ton was the main reason for the tax increase.
"Two weeks after we passed our budget, the [Carroll County] commissioners told us the fee would be $45," said the mayor. "They made all the town officials look foolish. Commissioners have been elected officials in towns and they know how we set our budgets."
Mayor Clark said he was disappointed that it was too late to factor the savings into the town budget. "Hopefully, we can use the extra dollars for our recycling project," he said.
That project will probably include curbside recycling, he said. Ms. Kaus said her committee is reviewing the town and county refuse situations.
"The closing of Hoods Mill Landfill puts an added burden, both for time and travel, on our crews," which now have to travel to the Northern Landfill near Westminster, she said. That was the major reason for the proposed reduction in pickups.
But now, the committee wants to continue Tuesday and Friday trash pickup and add curbside recycling on alternate Wednesdays for each half of town. Jennifer Way would serve as the dividing line.
Crews would accept all recyclables, except plastic. Residents can still use the bin at the town Recycling Center for plastics.
"I don't know how long we can continue allowing drop-off at the bin," Ms. Kaus said. "The last load was contaminated [with nonrecyclables]." Committee members hope to start the program in September.
Jim Boyer, a new homeowner in Hawk Ridge Farms, said more "trash days" might mean more trash cans on the streets. He asked for stricter enforcement of town ordinances regarding trash storage.
"I see people leaving trash cans out [in] front of their homes all week long," he said. "We don't want a town littered with trash cans and bins all week. We don't want our streets to look like back alleys."
Mr. Boyer was also concerned about bulk trash, which, he said, often remains on the street for several days before pickup.
Sykesville is the only Carroll town that will dispose of bulk trash for residents, said James L. Schumacher, town manager. Residents must apply for a permit at the Town House 48 hours before the scheduled pickup and must pay the tipping fee for the item.
Ms. Kaus asked for further comment from residents at the Recycling Committee meeting, set for 7 p.m. July 25 at the Town House.
"We make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the town," she said. "We appreciate any input."