ST. ALBANS — Voters on Saturday will decide whether the town will sign on to send its trash to a new waste-to-energy plant and whether to fund the construction of a salt and sand shed for the town.

Residents also will be asked to approve a $1.06 million budget for next year, including $50,000 to establish an account to help fund a new fire station.

Town Meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Town Hall on Water Street, and residents will consider a 41-article meeting warrant. A public information session on a proposed comprehensive plan for the town will be held immediately after the business meeting.

One of the articles asks voters whether they will authorize the town to sign on to a new biofuel plant proposed in Hampden by Fiberight, a Maryland-based company. St. Albans now sends its solid waste to Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. — PERC — a waste-to-energy incinerator in Orrington, through its membership with Mid-Maine Solid Waste Association, a group of seven communities that share a transfer station in Dexter.

The Municipal Review Committee, which represents more than 180 communities that send waste to PERC and owns roughly 25 percent of the power plant, believes the plant will not be economically viable after 2018, when an agreement to sell electricity to Emera Maine at above-market rates expires and so do contracts the plant has with communities that send waste to the plant.

The article asks residents if they will authorize the town to continue as a member of the Municipal Review Committee and sign a 15-year agreement to send its waste to the new Hampden plant.


Town Manager Rhonda Stark, on Wednesday, said selectmen recommended the Municipal Review Committee’s plan over staying with PERC after 2018. The committee has a plan, including a backup proposal to landfill waste if the Fiberight proposal falls through; while PERC didn’t present a plan to the town, only insisted it would be viable after 2018, Stark said.

Selectmen are recommending that voters approve the proposal, but some have voiced concern about whether it is the right choice or the town is moving too quickly to a decision, Stark added.

Voters also will consider on Saturday a proposal to build a salt and sand shed. The selectmen and the Budget Committee recommend voters authorize spending up to $405,300 to build the shed, on the site of the town’s former landfill off Hartland Road. The town is proposing to borrow $225,000 to partially pay for the project.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection will reimburse the town for 61 percent of the project cost, through a program set up in the 1990s to shelter uncovered salt and sand piles and prevent contamination of nearby groundwater.

According to Stark, the department is closing the program fund, and if water contamination problems occur in the future, the town will have to pay to cover its salt and sand pile without reimbursement.

“We are moving forward and building it before we don’t have a chance to get it,” Stark said.


Most of the articles on the town meeting warrant deal with the town’s proposed $1,065,619 budget. The spending plan is about $56,800 more than voters approved last year, according to Stark.

The increase includes a request for $50,000 to be included in a reserve fund for building a fire station, and an $18,000 payment for a lease-purchase of a new backhoe-loader for the town.

The town’s fire station was built in 1956 and needs to be replaced, Stark said. If the town were to buy a new fire engine, the vehicle would not fit in the current station, she added. The fire station reserve account, which has roughly $78,150 in it, will be used as seed money for grant funding, Stark said.

If voters want to reduce the budget, they will be likely to target reserve funding first, but the town will need to address the station at some point, according to Stark.

“It is just kicking the can down the road,” she said.

Voters on Friday will elect a selectman, a road commissioner, Budget Committee members and a school board member for Regional School Unit 19. The polls at the Town Office are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.


There are no candidates on the ballot for three-year seats on the RSU 19 school board or a seat on the Board of Selectmen, so any willing candidate will have to win with write-in votes, Stark said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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