Special town meetings Dec. 12

Three towns preparing to sever ties with PERC

Owls Head approved Aug. 28
By Beth A. Birmingham | Nov 29, 2017
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Town Manager Val Blastow, center, explains the "put option" to the Thomaston Board of Selectmen at its Nov. 27 meeting. Also shown is Chairman Greg Hamlin, left, and Kara George, recording secretary.

Thomaston — The Thomaston Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to send a decision to its voters on exercising its right of a "Put Option" with Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. at its Nov. 27 meeting.

The board voted to set a special town meeting for Dec. 12 to continue the required process of withdrawing from the Municipal Review Committee, which administers solid waste management, on March 31, 2018, the last day of the PERC agreement for handling the waste of the transfer station prior to the change to ecomaine in Portland.

The approval of the voters is required for Thomaston to liquidate its share of the PERC assets held by MRC, estimated at between $10,000 and $15,000, according to Town Manager Val Blastow.

In the town's newsletter, an explanatory note states: "By exercising this Put Option, the Town is electing to require that PERC repurchase the Town’s limited partnership interest in the facility in exchange for a cash payment equal to the Town’s proportionate share of $1,500,000, which represents the agreed upon aggregate value of all limited partnership interests held by the Town and other similarly situated municipal members of MRC -- all 187."

Thomaston, South Thomaston and Owls Head make up the Co-operative Solid Waste Transfer Facility located on Buttermilk Lane in Thomaston.

The three towns made the decision at their annual town meetings to go in a new direction with the disposal of solid waste, and in April 2018 will begin delivering solid waste to ecomaine.

Thomaston's annual performance credit from PERC has averaged $40,000. It is based on the popluation of the town from the 2010 census.

South Thomaston's ownership interest in PERC allowed the town to average about $16,000 annually in performance credits over the last four years, according to Jan Gaudio, chairman of the Select Board.

Like Thomaston, South Thomaston will be holding a special town meeting on the "Put Option" Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Owls Head voters already approved the option at their town meeting in August. The town averages $25,000 annually in performance credit reimbursements.

Factored into foreseeable discussions on how each town will cope with the loss of the annual performance credits from PERC will be two other major considerations -- how the co-op will honor its hauling contract with Thomaston Recycling Inc., which does not expire until March 31, as well as the anticipated loss of the solid waste and recycling from Maine State Prison.

For several years, the prison has used the co-op for the service without a formal contract -- at an average annual cost of $126,000. However, at the Oct, 26 meeting of the OHSTT Solid Waste Board, Bob Waldon of the prison informed the board the prison will no longer be using the facility. Instead it is anticipated to be signing a Shared Service Agreement with the Waldoboro Transfer Station.

The agreement was on two prior agendas of the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen, but has not transpired as yet, according to Waldoboro Town Manager Julie Keizer.

The next meeting of the OHSTT Solid Waste Board is Thursday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Owls Head Community Building.

The next meeting of the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen is Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Building.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

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