Lisbon seeks plant takeover

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LISBON – Selectmen have given Earth Tech, the company that has operated the wastewater treatment plant since 1993, a 90-day termination notice.

The notice, dated April 18, will allow the town to take over operations as of July 18, said Town Manager Curtis Lunt.

Earth Tech’s contract, which allows either party to terminate it with a 90-day notice, would have expired in July 2007.

Lunt stressed that the town is not dissatisfied with Earth Tech’s performance, that it’s simply a matter of economics for the town. “People are not using more water,” which in turn leads to “insufficient revenues, and rate hikes.”

Earth Tech’s contract costs the town $736,000 per year. Town officials believe that by taking over the operation of the plant, it can be done at a cost savings to the taxpayers.

In other matters, Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline has notified the town it is planning to double the size of the natural gas pipeline running through Lisbon. The proposal must first be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If given the green light, the project would require an expansion of the right-of-way, and construction would begin in 2008.

If the project is approved it would double the $60,000 in property tax that the town now collects, Lunt said.

Selectmen tabled a proposal to reorganize the Parks, Recreation and Conservation departments into a single Community Service Department, pending a workshop session in June for further discussion.

A petitioned town meeting warrant article signed by 350 residents asking that the town pay half the cost of a new $121,800 ambulance for Lisbon Emergency was accepted by selectmen for insertion in the warrant. However, selectmen said they were opposed to the article.

Approved was an amendment to the town’s investment policy to allow collateralization of mutual funds by allowing a letter of credit held by a third party to be used as collateral. This will result in a higher rate of return and the board projects it will earn $26,000 annually for the town, Lunt said

Selectmen will meet in special session Monday to sign their last annual town meeting warrant. Last year it was voted to move to a council-manager form of government. The warrant contains 80 business articles, including a $540,000 bond issue for a variety of public works projects.

In other business, it was voted to renew TAP Enterprises’ itinerant vendor license to hold a tool show at the MTM Community Center on May 8; 22 victualer’s licenses and 13 mobile home park licenses.

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