AUGUSTA — City councilors have agreed to reinstate a position for someone to run Hatch Hill landfill.

Councilors voted Thursday to create the position, one that was eliminated eight years ago when the landfill’s former leader was promoted to public works director.

Lesley Jones, who was promoted from the position overseeing Hatch Hill landfill to director of public works in 2011, has continued to oversee the regional landfill’s operation along with her expanded duties as leader of the entire public works department. Now though, she said, it has gotten to the point she can no longer keep up.

In response to her concerns and suggestion that it’s time to hire someone dedicated to overseeing the increasingly complex operations of the landfill used by residents of Augusta and several surrounding municipalities, city councilors previously expressed support for the proposal.

After no debate Thursday night, they voted 4-0 to reinstate the position and have city staff seek someone qualified to take on the job. The position is expected to pay in the range of $62,317 to $77,875, according to Ralph St. Pierre, finance director and assistant city manager.

The position, which City Manager William Bridgeo said is clearly needed, would be funded by revenues that Hatch Hill takes in and put into an enterprise fund. He said that would provide adequate funding to pay for the position for the foreseeable future.


“Reestablishing this position, which we had for a long time, is comfortably able to be afforded within that fund and would not have an impact on property taxes,” Bridgeo said.

Jones, who has overseen Hatch Hill landfill for more than 30 years, said that oversight has had to compete with all her other public works director duties. With the help of consultants they’ve managed to keep the landfill in compliance with environmental regulations, she said, but the demands of the job have put her in a position of not being able to do the quality of work she wants and that the city should receive.

Running the landfill has become increasingly complex in part due to the addition of a new system that takes methane gas created by rotting garbage in the landfill and converts it into electricity, which helps lower the city’s electricity costs. Jones noted the facility has also seen a large turnover in staff.

In addition, with the currently-in-use section of the landfill expected to reach capacity sometime around 2030, she said the city will need to start looking at what its residents will do with their solid waste in the future soon because that could be a time-consuming process — regardless of whether the city decided to expand the landfill or make other arrangements for trash from its residents.

Bridgeo said the search for a candidate to take on the job would be New England-wide. A good candidate for it, he said, would be someone who has had a management position at another landfill.

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