AUGUSTA — A proposal to decrease the fees charged to seven municipalities that pay Augusta to allow trash and recyclables to be dumped at the city-owned Hatch Hill landfill in exchange for a five-year contract with the city is up for council approval Thursday.

Councilors also are scheduled to honor several police officers and firefighters who rescued residents from burning buildings recently.

Councilors plan to vote on a city staff proposal to offer reduced fees, from $15 per capita to $12 per capita, charged to seven area municipalities to allow their residents to use the landfill, but only for municipalities that commit to a five-year contract.

The move would mean a $66,000-a-year loss in revenue, but City Manager William Bridgeo said losing the towns and cities that use the landfill could cost the city more.

The landfill generates roughly five times as much revenue from tipping fees — what those residents actually pay when they use the dump — as it does from the per-capita fees, each town’s yearly fee for using it.

The per-capita fees charged to the municipalities generate $308,000 a year in revenue for Augusta. If all seven of them get the reduced rate by committing to Hatch Hill for five years, it would cut that by $66,000.

Tipping fees bring in slightly more than $2 million in annual revenue, and those who use the dump are charged per-ton fees depending on the weight of what they bring in, ranging from $25 a ton for residential recyclables, with a $2 minimum, to $72 a ton for garbage going into the landfill, with a $6 minimum on other prices for things such as tires.

Bridgeo said Augusta has a “handshake agreement” with Manchester, Hallowell, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Randolph, Chelsea and Whitefield to use Hatch Hill and securing five-year contracts with the towns could help the landfill’s financial stability.

He said the reduction in per-capita fees would be offset by the fact that the municipalities couldn’t pack up and leave.

“We do get some money from per-capita fees, but my sense is if we could stabilize our flow (of trash and the tipping fees it brings) with five-year commitments, that’d be more important to us,” Bridgeo said.

However, Bridgeo said he doubts all seven municipalities will make a five-year commitment in exchange for the reduced rate.

Last year Pittston left Hatch Hill and now uses Richmond’s transfer station. Bridgeo said none of the other municipalities using the landfill plans to leave, as far as he knows.

Bridgeo said if the city lost another of the municipalities to a cheaper alternative, it could cost the city more in potential lost tipping fees than the $66,000 that could be lost by reducing the per-capita fees.

The landfill has an annual budget of about $2.5 million.

State law requires all municipalities to have a designated licensed solid waste disposal site or to contract with one.

Councilors meet to consider authorizing Bridgeo to enter into five-year agreements with the other municipalities that also use Hatch Hill at their meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Also, three police officers and 12 firefighters will be recognized by councilors Thursday for their actions in rescuing people from recent major fires.

Police officers Benjamin Murtiff, Kyle Sheridan and Sgt. Eric Lloyd and the C shift crew of firefighters will be recognized by councilors for their actions in the massive Dec. 5 fire that destroyed an 18-unit apartment building at 36 Northern Ave.

“The efforts of the first arriving Augusta Police Officers and Augusta Firefighters saved lives in what I would say was the most hostile fire environment I have ever seen in my 28 years in the fire service,” Fire Chief Roger Audette said in a memo to city officials.

The firefighters will be presented a Meritorious Unit Citation.

Additionally, firefighter/paramedic Mic Poirier will receive a Medal of Valor. Audette said Poirier, before the fire, had gone to 36 Northern Ave. to provide care to a woman with a disability on the second floor. Later, when the Fire Department was dispatched to the fire, Audette said, Poirier returned and knew he had to help that woman out of her unit in the burning apartment building. He forced his way into her smoke-filled apartment, where the back porches were burning, and pulled her to safety.

The three police officers already have received awards of valor from the Police Department, according to Police Chief Robert Gregoire, and each has received a Maine Chiefs of Police Association Lifesaving Award for action in the Northern Avenue fire.

Three other firefighters also are scheduled to receive the Augusta Fire Department Medal of Valor on Thursday, Audette said, for saving three people from a February fire at the Highland Terrace apartment complex while responding to a mutual-aid call on Highland Avenue in Gardiner.

Audette said Lt. Art True and firefighter/paramedics Rich Beaudoin and Dan Freeman were assigned to search an entire wing of the apartment complex, where the center hallways were full of smoke, so they had to rescue trapped occupants from the outside windows of the complex, all with February’s deep snow surrounding the building. They pulled three fire victims through the windows to safety.

Councilors also are scheduled to:

• hear an update on the upcoming Lithgow Public Library move and construction;

• hold the first reading of two required on a proposal to amend the city’s sign ordinance to allow official business directional signs along a segment of the Route 3 Connector to help people find businesses along West River Road and Riverside Drive as they travel to and from Interstate 95’s exit 113 and the coast;

• meet in a closed-door session to discuss real estate negotiations.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj


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