Rockport expresses concern about solid waste futureRockport looks to Rockland for costs
Rockport — The Rockport Select Board discussed an issue brought to its attention at a recent meeting of Mid-Coast Solid Waste Board of Directors — Hope looking at the option of withdrawing from the Rockport facility and transferring its trash to Union.
Rockport, Camden, Hope and Lincolnville have an interlocal agreement for the waste facility, located on Union Street in Rockport.
Jim Guerra, manager of Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation and Tri County Solid Waste in Union spoke with the Hope Board of Selectmen at its July 24 meeting regarding the town's inquiries into the potential of switching waste providers.
Hope pays roughly 9 percent of the assessment to towns for Mid-Coast Solid Waste, which is more than $48,000 per year, according to July 24 Hope Board of Selectmen meeting minutes. According to the interlocal agreement between the four towns, a town leaving the corporation must buyout its share of all remaining liabilities. It would cost Hope about $9,000 to leave, Hope Town Administrator Jon Duke previously said, and it would cost Hope about $33,000 to join Tri-County Solid Waste in Union.
Rockport Select Board Chairman William Chapman — who also represents the town on the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Board of Directors — questioned at the Aug. 13 meeting what is to stop another town, such as Lincolnville, from leaving. Chapman told board members that because the costs are according to population, Camden and Rockport pay the majority of the costs.
"If they [Hope] leave and Lincolnville leaves, then Camden leaves — it leaves us," Chapman said. "What's to keep Rockport from opting out?"
Rockport Town Manager Robert Peabody said he met with the Rockland city manager and the solid waste director about the possibility of Rockport transferring it's waste to the Rockland Solid Waste Facility on Limerock Street.
While the conversation with Rockland was theoretical, Peabody said, there are beneficial opportunities with household trash, demolition debris and recycling.
"It was a very preliminary discussion, but there seems to be opportunities if we pursue that avenue," Peabody said.
Another concern Chapman addressed was that the facility no longer requires "dump stickers," so he questioned what is to stop Hope residents from continuing to use the Rockport facility even if the town opts out of the agreement.
Board member Kenneth McKinley said he feels rules should be changed, allowing only the towns that support the Union Street facility to use it.
"We are paying money in our taxes so our citizens can go there," he said.
Board member Tracy Murphy asked what happens if Rockport ends up being the last town in the agreement and questioned if the town would have to bear the burden of the entire cost.
Chapman said he asked that very question at the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Board of Directors meeting and he was referred to the interlocal agreement.
Board member Geoffrey Parker said it seems Rockport could make a public appeal to Hope noting the towns have an agreement in place.
"If Hope pushes and Midcoast Solid Waste pushes back: let the courts decide," Parker said.
"I think that's the way it would go," Chapman said.
The Camden Herald reporter Kim Lincoln can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.