VASSALBORO – Vassalboro residents will decide whether they want to join with a planned waste-to-energy plant for the town’s garbage disposal when residents vote on a 59-article town warrant at Town Meeting.

The meeting is 6:30 p.m., Monday, at the Vassalboro Community School.

The proposed budget of $1,958,341 is a 0.67 percent decrease from last year’s, largely driven by proposed funding decreases of 4.25 percent for public works, 7.02 percent decrease for public safety and 34.48 percent decrease for miscellaneous items.

The appropriation for public education is also on the ballot, and will go to a final voting referendum for approval on Tuesday, June 14.

Community members will be asked whether they want Vassalboro to continue as a member of the Municipal Review Committee, which represents Maine communities that take their trash to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. facility in Orrington. Those contracts expire in 2018, and the MRC recently has chosen Fiberight to handle solid waste disposal at proposed plant in Hampden.

Fiberight, a Maryland-based company, is building a disposal plant that would be the first of its kind — the company wants to convert trash into industrial sugars and bio-fuels. If the community approves, Vassalboro will join Oakland and dozens of other Maine communities using Fiberight for solid waste disposal.

“It’s the best buy and it’s the best for the environment,” said Philip Haines, a town selectman. For the long term, Fiberight is the lowest cost option, according to Haines.

Greg Lounder, executive director of the MRC, is speaking to residents at Monday’s meeting.

The tipping fee, or amount a facility charges for receiving waste, would be about $70 per ton when using Fiberight.

Remaining with PERC would cost about $84 per ton, Lounder said.

Residents also will decide how much to take from the Alewife Reserve Fund and give to the China Region Lakes Alliance is also up for vote on Monday.

The selectmen recommend $5,000, while the budget committee recommends $10,000. Haines said previous possible changes to the China Region Lakes Alliance made the selectmen less apt to give a larger amount. They’re also giving the organization money through TIF money, he said.

Whether to apply to for a $1 million Community Development Block Grant for the Vassalboro Sanitary District, a quasi-municipal agency that’s not a town department, is on the town warrant again this year. Last year it was unable to apply for the grant because its funding package wasn’t complete, Town Manager Mary Sabins said.

The Vassalboro Sanitary District has wanted to replace its treatment system with a connection to the Winslow sewer system for a few years. The agency is raising money from a number of sources, one being this grant, for the project’s estimated cost of $5.5 million, Sabins said.

The tax rate for residents could increase from $13.70 per thousand of valuation to $14.04 per thousand.

“That’s the worst case scenario,” said John Melrose, a member of the budget committee.

Much of that is a result of the state increasing the Homestead Exemption, which decreases the value of the community. No matter the budget amount, if the community’s valuation decreases, then the tax rate will increase, Melrose said. Other changes in the community could increase the valuation and offset the impact, he said, but the town’s assessor is still working.

Also included in the town warrant is the proposed school budget, which if approved will move to a voting referendum on June 14.

The $7.37 million proposed school budget is a 3.25 percent increase from last year’s. The difference, about $232,000, is mostly because of salary increases and increased insurance costs, said Eric Haley, superintendent of Alternative Organizational Structure 92, the school district that covers Vassalboro Community School.

The difference is only going to cost $38,234 more in local taxes, though, Haley said, because of an $150,947 increase in state funding.

Madeline St. Amour – 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour


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