Transfer station: Proposed fee increase postponed to November meeting
by Mary Grow
China Transfer Station Committee members made progress on their Oct. 12 agenda items, while postponing decisions to their Nov. 9 meeting, mostly to give them time to collect more information.
They approved by consensus Palermo representative Robert Kurek’s methodology for calculating a new fee for the disposal bags Palermo residents use. They need updated information and more options on sources for the bags (bought by the Town of China, sold to Palermo people) to decide what the fee should be.
Any cost increases for Palermo will take effect April 1, 2022, as the contract between the two towns calls for six months’ notice.
Committee members endorsed the draft vision and mission statements proposed by the Visioning Subcommittee. The subcommittee will schedule a meeting to continue refining the documents.
Part of the future planning calls for new equipment and improvements to the facility. Transfer Station Manager Ronald Marois said work has started on a new pad intended to store refrigerators; he said it will be large enough for other similar items.
Marois recommended that the committee endorse a request to China selectmen for a new front-end loader, the top item on the list of proposed new equipment.
The one now in use is old, and, he warned, if it breaks down this winter, the transfer station will be hobbled and the public works employees will be unable to load sand and salt trucks.
Committee members were supportive, but took no formal action.
Two facilities improvements also got unofficial support. Marois wants a cover over the pre-crusher near the present mixed-waste hopper, to protect the controls and to avoid adding rainwater and snow to the outgoing loads of trash. Karen Hatch, who runs the Free for the Taking building, asked for electricity and heat.
Ashley Farrington volunteered to see whether the transfer station addition would need an engineer. Committee members amended Hatch’s request to electricity and lights, suggesting a small electric heater would be enough to keep the small building warm; Farrington will get a cost estimate.
Looking beyond the local transfer station, committee member Mark Davis expressed frustration with the failure to open a successor to the Fiberight recycling facility in Hampden. China has a contract to use the facility, which has been closed for more than a year; without it, trash is being landfilled in Norridgewock, an option Davis opposes.
Committee Chairman Larry Sikora said the last he heard, the Municipal Review Committee (MRC), the body representing towns that used the Hampden facility, had three parties expressing interest in reviving it.
Davis suggested China ditch MRC and contract to use the waste incinerator in Orrington run by Penobscot Energy Recovery Company (PERC), until, he further suggested, China builds its own waste incinerator.
Kurek and Sikora advised checking the contract with MRC and looking into PERC costs before considering a change. Marois added that the PERC incinerator is already well supplied.
The next China Transfer Station Committee meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9.
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