GOOD EVENING. I am here tonight to address the PROCESS that was ignored by the council as you jumped into pay per bag. Even the city attorney, to his credit, said that you didn’t have to write an ordinance so fast, that you could wait until fall. It all went on deaf ears. You didn’t listen to my husband, Barry Faber, when he came on June 2, 2014, and I am sure you won’t listen to me. But I must try. I ask, why the big rush to put through pay per bag and set a fee tonight? I find it to be a simple answer: TO COVER UP MISMANAGEMENT. That’s right, Cover up Mismanagement of the landfill which different councils supported with their votes, after knowing the facts. You, not we, need to take responsibility. The facts speak for themselves.

1. In January 2007, 7 years ago, CMA Engineers of Kennebunk, who was hired by the City, regarding the quarry landfill, presented an 89 page report citing examples including Kingston, N.H. CMA assisted them with their closure, which resulted in a: “Closure fund sufficient to pay for the $5 million closure construction cost, with sufficient money set aside for long term monitoring and maintenance. In addition to covering these costs, the operation generated over $3 million extra, to be transferred to the general fund.” (repeat) Why didn’t we hire CMA to do this for us? That was our cash cow. I was on the council at the time. To me, it was a no brainer. I was the sole vote to hire CMA, to do this for us. The other four councilors voted that it be done in house. That was 2007. Over the last SEVEN YEARS, either I, or my husband, have spoken against the in house contracts that were irresponsible and lacked sufficient performance bonds.

2. The original intent of these in house contracts, back in 2007 was to have our city manager talk to other city managers in various towns and cities. On January 13, 2007, the then City Manager Tom Hall stated in the Courier “that he had not decided on the rate, but that $50 to $60 is the expected range.” to be charged per ton for the landfill.

3. So what happened? The dump dept head and the city attorney handled the contracts. Instead of contacting towns and cities, they contacted Waste Management Firms. The price we were to receive at he landfill dropped to the $27 to $30 range (per ton) and even to $22. Was that fair when we were charging $75 a ton to ourselves?

4. One contract was with DMJ to pay us $220,000. There was no performance bond and they brought us nothing. So we were short $220,000 that year on the revenue line in our budget.

5. Another contract was with Corcoran Environmental Services from Kennebunk which went bankrupt and still owns us $49,615.51.

6. A third contract was with Plan-It recycling (a NY company doing business in Gorham) who owes us $127,889.02 which we will have to write off as a bad debt after reducing their fee to $22 per ton in the landfill instead of the already give away price of $27 per ton in their contract. Is that fair to Rockland taxpayers?

7. Another contract was with ARC from Eliot, Maine. At the December 12, 2011 Council Meeting, I begged the council not to renew another 3 year contract with ARC, 6 months early as there was no reason to do so, and to wait for the new city manager that was to be hired or to renew for only one year. They held it over until January to get more information.

8. Meanwhile, not one cent was put away for closure of the quarry landfill and long term maintenance in FY2009 to June 2010 when the solid waste facility/dump had a surplus of $243,000 which was supposed to go to closure and perpetual care. Instead $191,764 went into the designated fund balance or general fund surplus and $40,000 went into Solid Waste Capital Reserve. When the council had money for closure, they designated it elsewhere.

9. The ARC contract was renewed on January 9, 2012 for another 3 years(voted on six months early), after the council was told that ARC charged the town of North Berwick $85 a ton to receive their demolition. ARC pays us $30 per ton so ARC makes $55 a ton minus expense of travel to come to our landfill. So on the 25,000 ton contract, ARC is making a profit of $1,375,000 each year minus the expense of travel. ARC is laughing all the way to the bank. Is that fair to the taxpayers of Rockland? The council passed it with 4 for and one against. Those voting for this contract that started at $30 for processed waste and went to $31 in year 2 and 3 (which is now) were Mayor Brian Harden, Eric Hebert, Will Clayton, and Larry Pritchard. The lone NO vote was Lizzie Dickerson. Thank you Lizzie from all of us.

10. A week before the January 2012 vote, the department head quoted Old Town as our competitor. What a joke. It is not Old Town. It is Pine Tree, a subsidiary of Casella who is running the facility, which happens to be in Old Town. Casella recently paid the State of Vermont a fine of $1,000,000 for anti-competitive contracts with consumers, which was the highest fine ever paid by a business in the state of Vermont. Rockland cannot and should not be expected to compete with Casella. Yet with staff recommendation and your vote, you did just that.

11. Another contract was signed with Troiano at the same January 2012 meeting to dump 5,000 tons at ARC’s rate. Why?

12. The contracts allow Arc and Troiano EACH to bring 6 trailer truck loads a day over Old County Road. Have you seen those trucks? What has that done to Old County Road? The contract allows up to 12 trailer truck loads a day. They are making big bucks on our backs.

13. Camden charges $80 per ton for demolition no matter who comes there. Where are our self esteem and our business skills?

14. Our quarry that had a life of 50 years, is now down to what? 5 years? What will it cost us then? We can go to Camden and pay $80 per ton for demolition debris after we gave up our space for $30 a ton.

15. It was staff’s idea and not MDEP that forced the fast fill on us. Why didn’t the staff and Council call in CMA Engineers in 2011, after the city plan had failed for 3 years?

16. So there you have the facts that are being covered up which is the real reason for a $135 sticker or pay per bag. Someone needs to take responsibility for this give away and it should not be us.

By not looking back, you continue to make the same mistakes. At some point this mismanagement has to be dealt with. It was staff that proposed these irresponsible contracts but it was the City Council that voted for these contracts AFTER being informed of these facts.

Pay Per Bag and sky high sticker fees are not the answer. This does not address the cause of the problem. Instead you use the theory that some people cheat and bring in extra household trash, as an excuse for us all to pay to make up for all those sweetheart deals at the landfill. Where is enforcement? The Hopper for household trash and the quarry/landfill are two separate and distinct parts of the dump. Please tell me why we should pay for our household trash for what ARC and the other companies didn’t pay with their sweetheart deals at the landfill . And who are you hurting the most? As the dump director, to his credit, told you, it is poor people who can least afford it.

We should not have to pay more for our household trash to make up for bad negotiating. The landfill has historically been given away for the asking. In 2001, when the City was charging $75 a ton at the landfill for demolition debris, FMC, a world wide Philadelphia based billion dollar company was paying $2.75 a ton, a ridiculously low fee. In 2004, FMC paid $3.25 per ton. Rockland was subsidizing FMC for several million dollars each year. It was finally stopped because of health issues. As a result of charging FMC a meager amount, the City Council at that time decided to waive fees for the Rockland Port District to allow them to put sludge in the landfill. The entire Port District fee of $922,000 was waived. Between FMC and the Port Authority, we are talking millions and millions of dollars that could/should have been put aside for closure and perpetual care. You talk about fairness, was any of this fair?

You now say you want $100,000 for closure in the upcoming year. Well, here is your answer……………

Article II, Sec 204 of the Rockland City Charter states: #4 “Any two or more departments may be combined by action of the City Council. “

#5 Departments may be created, enlarged, reduced or abolished by action of the council.”

Why not Combine Solid Waste and Waste Water, and Public Works, which are all interrelated and have one department head which many towns and cities do. Or have the Waste Water Dept head be in charge of his dept plus Solid Waste, since what is put into the landfill flows to the sewer treatment plant and he is ultimately responsible. Combining just these two departments would save the dump director salary package of $99,672. Since you are already thinking of combing the fire and police when you know they didn’t get along when they were in one building, this makes much more sense and does not affect health safety and welfare of our citizens.

To mislead citizens by saying that the dump operation is an enterprise fund is untrue. It is NOT an enterprise fund as the city auditor has said on tv many times. It does not meet the legal requirements to be an enterprise fund. You may want it to be so you are shifting the burden to us through pay per bag or another jump to a $135 sticker. It hasn’t worked yet as spending and irresponsible contracts continue to put us where we are today. This is a user tax. BTW, I just found out that if you didn’t buy your dump sticker by today for $65, it will be $135 tomorrow, July 1st. And the 32 gallon bags which was $1.50 each, will be $2.25 tomorrow.

Are we in a race to see how fast our city will head to bankruptcy. The city surplus is dangerously low, way below what is recommended. Will we be a ghost town with no residents? There are houses for sale on nearly every street.