GORHAM — Gorham Public Works Director Buddy Holmes reported a problem to selectmen Monday, saying the town’s transfer station at the DPW yard has been inundated lately with people dropping off unusually large loads of no-longer-needed clothes, household goods and furniture.

These early spring-cleaning efforts could be attributed to the large number of residents who have been laid off or furloughed from their jobs in response to the coronavirus, Holmes said.

“We had 80-90 vehicles show up with materials they’d cleared out of their garages, cellars and attics,” he said.

“It was quite a fiasco, with people getting angry once our roll-off dumpster was filled up, since there was no place for anyone to drop things off until our contractor came through to empty it.”

“This is a problem no one anticipated,” Chairman Mike Waddell said.

Questions posed by selectmen Judy LeBlanc and Adam White established that it was the volume of bulky materials, such as furniture, textiles and plastics, that caused the problem and not household garbage or kitchen waste, which go into a smaller dumpster.

Holmes suggested as a temporary fix, which the board adopted on unanimous vote, that effective Friday, March 27, residents must deliver all loads that fill a 6-foot or larger pickup truck bed directly to the Androscoggin Valley Regional Refuse Disposal District’s materials transfer and recycling station at 100 West Milan Road (Route 110) in Berlin. Residents must first get a permit at the Gorham’s Public Works garage.

AVRRDD’s recycling center is open Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Its bulky materials section with a commercial scale house is open Tuesday-Saturday from 7:30 a.m-3:30 p.m.

Those with a large number of items that would fill less than a 6-foot pickup truck bed, are being asked to call DPW employee Lisa White at (603) 466-5025 to be sure the load can be immediately accepted or whether an alternative time to bring it in must be arranged.

The selectmen also voted, 3-0, to authorize town manager Denise Vallee and Holmes to make whatever adjustments are needed to facilitate making these new arrangements work smoothly.

Vallee reported that she has spent a lot of her time monitoring and keeping abreast of all the outreach and information provided by the Governor’s Office, Homeland Security and other agencies and then, in turn, keeping town departments informed. All town buildings are now closed to the public. The public library staff provides curbside pickup of books and other materials to its patrons. Parks and Recreation Department Director Jeff Stewart is been planning summertime events, including the farmers market and summer concert series on the Common.

This meeting was held on the second-floor of Town Hall with those on hand doing their best to sit 6 feet apart from one another. As always, the meeting was live-streamed and included a call-in or email-in section to allow for remote public comment.

Waddell wrote at the top of the agenda that he had declared an emergency “for the purpose of our board of selectmen meetings until the COVID-19 pandemic situation has subsided.”

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