The Mid-Coast Solid Waste board voted July 27 not to back a long-term trash processing contract with Fiberight, starting in 2018.

The vote followed a four-and-a-half-hour meeting, where Fiberight Chief Executive Officer Craig Stuart Paul responded to questions from the board, and representatives of trash processors ecomaine and the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company continued to lobby for the MCSW contract.

MCSW has a deadline of Aug. 31 to contract with Fiberight. Voter approval at special town meetings in Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville and Hope is required before MCSW can enter into any long-term municipal solid waste disposal contract.

At June town meetings, voters in Camden, Rockport and Hope rejected MCSW's recommendation to contract with ecomaine.

The July 27 vote not to recommend Fiberight was determined by the weighting of board member's votes by town population and state property valuation. Votes for each of the four member towns are weighted as follows: Camden 41.92 percent, Rockport 31.90 percent, Lincolnville 16.31 percent and Hope 9.87 percent. The weighting of board member votes is part of an interlocal agreement between the four towns.

Voting against a long-term contract with Fiberight were John French and Leonard Lookner, both of Camden, Arthur Durity of Lincolnville, and Tom Ford of Hope. Voting in favor of recommending Fiberight were Board members Owen Casas and Bill Chapman, both of Rockport, Jim Annis of Hope and Cindy Gerry of Lincolnville. Any board recommendations for the long-term municipal solid waste disposal contract has to go to voters for approval.

MCSW board member Bill Chapman had proposed holding a town meeting on or before Wednesday, Aug. 31, where voters would choose to approve or reject a recommendation by the MCSW board to enter into a long-term contract with Fiberight. Chapman urged the board to vote up or down on this proposal, because MCSW is facing a deadline of Aug. 31 to contract with Fiberight and its Maine-based partner, the Municipal Review Committee, a nonprofit coalition of Maine towns.

Minutes before the July 27 meeting ended, MCSW board member Leonard Lookner successfully motioned to adjourn the meeting, and convene again on Wednesday, Aug. 10. The adjournment cut short a proposed vote by board member John French to go back to voters for a second time with a recommendation to contract with ecomaine. French contends Camden's vote was not a vote for Fiberight, but was a vote for more information and time to make the decision on a 20-year municipal solid waste contract.

Lookner cited the lateness of the hour, new material received at the meeting, and sharing it with members of the community as reasons for the adjournment. Earlier in the meeting, Lookner said he could not recommend Fiberight, and believes it will be a "colossal failure." Lookner said if the citizens want Fiberight, "they will have to own the decision."

MCSW is currently a charter member of the MRC and under its coalition is one of 187 towns that contracts with PERC until 2018.  When the current PERC contract ends in 2018, the MRC will contract with Fiberight.