2. Policy for MDOT dumping tires: I have forwarded to you a letter which I have sent to MDOT Maintenance Supervisor Tracy Lord, inviting him to come to this meeting to discuss how the tire disposal fee structure impacts the local MDOT maintenance garage. I have proposed in my letter to Tracy that the Town not charge the MDOT for tires collected from the roadside as this is a public service. The MDOT is not disposing of any of their own truck tires: they are only disposing of tires collected from the roadside. I welcome the Board's guidance on this issue as I am at wit's end.
3. Request from Waste Management to Bring Recyclable Commodities to Greenville Recycling Center from Rockwood: I received a call from Waste Management, Inc., the company which maintains the transfer station in Rockwood. They collect recyclable commodities from the site, and have asked if we would be willing to accept some or all of them at our recycling center. I have discussed this with our Recycling Center employee Tom Gravelle and also with rubbish contractor Sean Bolen. Both agree that there would be benefit from accepting commodities from Rockwood so long as those commodities were profitable. In particular, cardboard and newsprint would be the ideal commodities to accept. The Town of Jackman collects recyclable commodities and hires Waste Management to haul them to Skowhegan at a flat cost of $35/ton, from which any profit from the sale of the commodity is deducted. In the case of cardboard – currently being bought at a price of $35/ton – Jackman's net cost is $0. And certainly $35/ton handling fee is better than the $60/ton tipping fee if it had been added to their trash.
By my estimation, it costs the Town of Greenville – in terms of labor and electricity - roughly $70/ton for every ton of recyclable commodity shipped from our facility, not counting any profit made on the sale of the commodity. The same calculation per ton decreases by 48% after adjusting for our gross revenue from sale of commodities. Based on this information, I think we should accept only paper commodities (cardboard, newsprint, mixed paper, which are easier to handle and have higher resale value), and that we should charge Waste Management $33.85/ ton. At this price, with the current market prices for cardboard and newsprint, we would break even. However, the market is subdued right now and is likely to go up this winter. With cardboard currently at $35/ton, and two winters ago it was at $107/ton, there is a real opportunity to increase our profit. I further recommend that we discontinue this arrangement if we find after a few months that we are losing money.
4. Presentation on Snow and Ice Control – Public Works Foreman Mike Thornton and Town Manager John Simko: Mike and I attended a presentation on anti-icing techniques put on in Bangor by the MDOT Local Roads Center. We learned quite a bit about the greater effectiveness and efficiency of using a combination of straight salt and liquid calcium in conjunction with some abrasives (sand). The conversion completed by the MDOT from mostly sand and some salt to mostly salt and some sand resulted in significant cost savings in many ways, and also resulted in little to no increase in total salt consumption. Mike and I will explain tot he Board what we learned at this workshop, as well as our proposal for how to prevent ice-buildup on our roads from the start of each storm. I have attached some of the handouts we received at the workshop.
5. Request for Anti-Icing Equipment for PW Trucks: At my request, Mike has received a quote from H.P. Fairfield for necessary equipment to rig up our newest truck with a liquid calcium tank and dispenser, and also ground-speed control mechanisms to regulate the flow of material from the truck. This initial cost of $5,080 would be paid for in one year's savings, by my estimates, when you include both time saved putting out sand, the cost of the sand itself, and the savings in not having to pick up as much sand in the Spring. I recommend purchase of the necessary equipment from the truck account (which has more than enough money in it to allow for this capital purchase).
6. Long-Term Mill Rate Forecast: Superintendent of Schools Bill Folsom requested of me a 3-5 year mill rate forecast to assist him in his budget plans. I have been working on it, using numeric averages from previous years' total assessed values and total tax commitments. I will adjust these for estimated changes in value due to projected construction growth, projected assessment reductions on high-valued properties, large infrastructure projects, and regional economic impacts to state and federal funding. I will present this forecast to the Board on Wednesday night.
7. Letter of Support from Town of Greenville for Federal Railroad Infrastructure Funding (H.R. 1020): This proposed federal legislation would be the first time in modern history (as I am told) that the federal government might actually pass a major railroad infrastructure bill. HR 1020 has passed favorably from the Transportation Committee on the House side, and awaits assignment by the Speaker's office to be considered on the floor. Congressman Baldacci has sent the attached letter to Speaker Hastert, requesting that the bill be heard as soon as possible. If passed, some of the $2 billion to be used for grants to fix up class two and three railroads could help the B&A system. General rail improvements are necessary for safety and efficiency of the system. This money could also pay for new rail sidings, something we desperately need in Greenville. If passed, this could encourage purchase of the B&A system by a favorably railroad company who would run the entire system. Therefore, passage of this bill is extremely important to the future of our railroad. I will have a letter for the Board to sign favoring this legislation and directed to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
Also, there is a meeting with Governor King on Tuesday afternoon. Depending how this meeting goes, I may have a letter of support from the Board of Selectmen to consider signing which would ask the Governor to take certain actions which would help make the new railroad whole and functional. I will keep you posted.
8. Letter of Support from Town of Greenville for Federal Biomass Power Generation Tax Credit: Again, a piece of much-needed federal legislation which would help to financially assist the ailing biomass power generation industry in Maine, a part of which is our own Greenville Steam Plant. I have attached a copy of my own letter to Senator Snowe, which went out Friday. I recommend a similar letter from the entire Board.
9. Letter of Support for Maine Municipal Investment Trust Fund: The last requested letter of support. This has been prepared for you and is attached. I feel strongly that the Municipal Investment Trust Fund could help Greenville immensely. I hope you will follow my recommendation and sign this letter as well.
10. Holiday Hours and Town Manager Vacation: First, I have taken the liberty of assigning a half-day to the Town Office on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve this year, both of which fall on Mondays. Considering that the State will be closed on Christmas Eve but open all day on New Year's Eve, I recommend following the State's lead. Please tell me which you prefer. Secondly, I plan to take most of the week off of Christmas. I will have briefed all of our department heads before I go, and I will share with you my finalized plans at the meeting (probably off all week except Wednesday and whatever part of Monday we're open).
11. Request to Call a Public Meeting Regarding State Facilities: Following a meeting in Augusta, representatives from the Departments of Conservation and Inland Fisheries and our Legislative Delegation and the Governor's Office agreed that to better understand where everyone stands on the issue of possibly moving the offices of these departments in Greenville, the Town of Greenville should call a public informational meeting for the state to describe its plans. I am concerned that if the Town calls such a meeting, it could appear that we have our own agenda in this matter. Provided the Town can be perceived as seeking additional information from the state, I would favor calling such a meeting. Attached is more information via email on this matter. Please let me know if you favor having this meeting called by the Town: it may be better if the state calls the meeting.