Rockland OKs 20-year deal for trash disposal

By Stephen Betts | Apr 13, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland — The Rockland City Council gave final approval Wednesday night, April 12, to a 20-year contract with a Portland company for disposal of the community's solid waste.

The contract with ecomaine will begin March 31, 2018, when the current contract with Penobscot Energy Recovery Company of Orrington expires.

A couple of residents spoke out in favor of the economaine deal during the meeting, saying it would lead to improved recycling rates for the community.

Laura Coe said that the length of the contract -- 20 years -- was the industry standard, pointing out that Rockland had a 30-year pact with PERC. Coe said single-stream recycling would improve a rate that now sees only 17 percent of residents recycle.

Sarah Bartz said the 20-year contract offers the city a good price.

"This is a safe, solid bet," she said, that would make it easier for city officials to budget each year.

The proposed contract calls for a starting tipping fee of $57.85 per ton. The cost will then rise by the cost of living for the next two years. In year four, the cost will rise to about $75 per ton and then increase annually based on the average New England cost of living.

The proposed pact also calls for a five-year cost/revenue-sharing arrangement for single-sort recycling.

The vote was 4-0 for the economaine deal.

The city has considered various options, including staying with PERC as well as the proposed Fiberight waste-to-energy plant planned for Hampden.

Other local communities have also voted to go with ecomaine. The three-town waste cooperative that includes Thomaston, South Thomaston and Owls Head decided last year to sign up with ecomaine for 20 years.

In November, residents in Camden, Rockport, Hope and Lincolnville voted yes on the question of authorizing the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation to enter into a contract for up to five years with ecomaine.

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