The nonprofit agency that handles solid waste for Portland and four dozen other communities will eliminate annual assessment fees, which will cut disposal costs in half for its member communities.
Ecomaine’s board of directors voted unanimously Thursday night to eliminate the assessment fees, saving the 21 municipalities that own ecomaine nearly $2.5 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The fees were established to generate guaranteed revenue to finance the agency’s debt. In the last four years, ecomaine has reduced the fees by 48 percent. The nonprofit agency, previously called Regional Waste Systems, eliminated its long-term debt last year.
“Our strong financial performance and cash position in the current fiscal year is continuing the pattern that we’ve seen over the past several years. We’re also seeing some other positive trends that have favorable financial impacts,” said Kevin Roche, ecomaine’s CEO, in a letter to the board of directors. “We are now in a position to propose a plan that would accelerate financial relief by eliminating assessments.”
Roche said ecomaine has made financial relief for its owner communities a priority. Disposal fees at ecomaine’s incinerator on the outskirts of Portland were reduced by 20 percent this year, from $88 per ton to $70.50 per ton. Those fees are now the only cost paid by communities that send waste to ecomaine.