LEWISTON — A draft lease letting Casella Solid Waste build a recycling facility on the city’s 3-acre recycling shed gives the city more protection, City Administrator Ed Barrett said.
He released the 30-page draft lease to the public Tuesday, along with a four-page summary of the lease and a page answering frequently asked questions about the proposed deal.
Councilors have scheduled a hearing on the lease at their regular meeting Tuesday.
“They will be in a position, if they are ready, to take action on it that night,” Barrett said. “They can either approve it or not or, if questions or issues come up, they could look for additional answers and table it for some time.”
Casella hopes to build a 15,000-square-foot automated recycling center south of the city’s landfill at the transfer station on River Road. The center would take recyclables collected from around communities in Maine, sort them and sell them on the commodities market.
The lease does not involve the landfill and doesn’t require the city to use Casella to sort the recyclable materials collected in Lewiston.
“There has been no interest whatsoever in exploring any change in the landfill or the city’s operation there,” Barrett said.
According to the terms of the 20-year lease, the city would keep ownership of the land, the recycling building and all machines Casella brings in. The company would pay the city $5,638 per month — $67,656 per year — in addition to an entry fee of $5 per truck.
The lease amount and the truck fee would increase by between 2 percent and 5 percent each year, based on inflation.
Barrett said having a lease works in the city’s favor.
“A lease gives us much greater control over the operation than if it was on private property,” he said. “If it was on private property across the street or in Gendron Business Park, once they met land-use requirements and zoning, that would be all we could do. Any additional controls would come through the state. With the lease, we get much more control and can mandate they have all their permits and abide by environmental regulations.”
Breaking state environmental regulations would violate the lease, letting the city collect the bond and keep ownership.
“It gives us more recourse than we would have just as a municipality,” Barrett said.
Casella would have 10 months to build the facility once the lease is signed and would pay a $500,000 bond to the city if Casella defaults on the lease. That bond would be reduced to $225,000 after three years of successful operation.
“We will own it all, the property and the buildings,” Barrett said. “Even the new addition will be the city’s. We will own it.”
The company would also be able to honor agreements between the city of Lewiston and surrounding municipalities to accept and process recycling or to ask the city to terminate those agreements. Lewiston currently has agreements with Auburn, Greene, Leeds, New Gloucester and Turner.
Lewiston/Casella recycling facility
* Lease term is 20 years with mutual options to extend by five year periods. Casella would pay $25,000 fee at lease signing, which would be applied to first year’s lease.
* Casella would pay $5,638 per month for the lease, which would increase between 2 and 5 percent per year based on inflation.
* City would maintain ownership of the land, the building and all equipment in the facility. Casella would pay operating expenses and would be responsible for maintenance and repair costs.
* Casella to pay $5 per truck entry, about $9,100 per year based on seven vehicle entries per day. Company would pay $75,000 of the entry fee up front to replace facility scale.
* Company would pay for a $500,000 performance bond, payable to the city of it defaults on the lease. That bond would be reduced to $225,000 after three successful years of operation.
* Facility would accept recycling materials Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Inside processing can continue until 10 p.m. daily, maintenance can be performed at any time.
* Noise must be kept below 70 decibels at property line.
* All material processing must take place inside the building and all materials must be stored in the building.
* Facility will accept only recyclable material originating in the State of Maine and cardboard, plastic and other materials recovered from the KTI Biofuels plant. Facility will not accept municipal solid waste or hazardous materials.
* Company to work with Mid Maine Waste Action Corporation incinerator to take residue material that cannot be recycled.
* Casella can choose to honor agreements between the City of Lewiston and other surrounding municipalities to accept and process recycling or ask the city to terminate those agreements.