Somebody made a mistake in the paper. There has always been a $1 per pedestrian or bike charge - it just isn't strictly enforced. Typically the school kids that live on the north side of the river and labourers that live in town and cross each day to work are not charged - as a courtesy to them. You will find in a lot a cases that the construction companies that have the jobs up the coast pay a certain monthly fee to the town board to let their workers back and forth at a very reduced rate.
Most gringos that live on the north side buy a monthly $100 pass for unlimited crossings.
I am sure that if you are a volunteer, you could talk to the mayor about getting special dispensation.
Hey, we have to pay for the bridge, it wasn't a gift, it was a loan. So some of us have to pay for it. It makes sense that the folks that use the bridge should pay for it. Hence the toll. Seems fairly simple to me. If you choose to live on the north side of the river and you would like to cross over to town via the bridge, pay the price. Life isn't always what we percieve of as fair.
What did you say bobber? - get over it!
This is the price of convenience and progress.