AUGUSTA — City officials are eying the purchase of 45 acres next to the Hatch Hill landfill.

The property, according to City Manager William Bridgeo, could serve as a buffer between the regional landfill and its neighbors.

The property’s owner, Industrial Metal Recycling, approached Public Works Director Lesley Jones this summer to see if the city would be interested in buying the vacant, wooded and, in places, swampy property.

The city has since had it appraised and the company that owns the land, which Jones said is getting out of the business and selling off its assets, agreed to sell it to the city for the appraised value of $36,000.

While longer-term the city potentially could use the site, its interest in the spot now is as a buffer between the landfill and other property owners.

“A regional landfill is always an environmentally sensitive enterprise, and it’s always good to have a buffer” around such a site, said Bridgeo, who recommends the purchase. “This is an opportunity to get 45 acres for less than $1,000 an acre. The Hatch Hill enterprise fund has a healthy balance right now, so this presents itself as a good opportunity.”

Hatch Hill is owned by the city but takes trash from several surrounding municipalities, which pay fees for their residents to be able to send waste to the landfill. It is funded as an enterprise fund, with money to run it coming from both the city and the other municipalities that use it, as well as from tipping fees.

The property abuts the west side of Hatch Hill Road and the landfill, the north side of South Belfast Avenue, and a Greater Augusta Utility District sludge disposal site.

The property is vacant. Jones said Industrial Metal Recycling bought it in 2000 with the idea of putting a metal recycling yard on the site, but it never acted on that idea. The company bought the property for $38,500, according to an appraisal of the property done for the city by Dwyer Associates.

The property is assessed, by the city for tax purposes, at $36,200.

About 75 percent of the property is made up of wetlands.

Bridgeo said longer-term the city potentially could use the land to develop an alternative energy project, such as part of a solar panel farm the city could do on closed sections of the otherwise still-active landfill property. He said it is unlikely the city would expand the landfill onto the property, because of its wetness and its proximity to South Belfast Avenue. He said the city could possibly have the forest on the land selectively cut.

Councilors’ approval would be needed for the deal to proceed. The council is scheduled to consider authorizing the proposed purchase at its 7 p.m. Thursday meeting in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Councilors are also scheduled to:

• Consider adopting a moratorium on commercial recreational marijuana activity in the city;

• Hear a presentation from Judith Shaw, of the Maine Office of Securities, on elder abuse;

• Consider accepting the donation of three park benches and a picnic table, valued at $1,030, from Eric McDonnell, a member of Boy Scout Troop 603 who made the items as part of his Eagle Scout requirements;

• Consider accepting a $700 bid for the sale of property on Oxford Street that the city took for nonpayment of taxes;

• Consider authorizing Bridgeo to apply for Certified Local Government status through the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and the National Park Service, which could allow the city to become eligible for state and federal historic preservation funding; and

• Issue a resolution supporting federal historic tax credits, a funding mechanism used to spur historic preservation projects, which could be eliminated in proposed federal tax reform legislation.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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