Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Closer Look at the Casella-Westbrook Agreement

Courtesy of Leslie Bridgers's fine article in the American Journal and an informative e-mail from Westbrook City Administator Jerre Bryant, here's a quick review of the agreement between Casella Waste Systems and the City of Westbrook:

- The free curbside recycling program Casella Waste Systems will provide for Westbrook residents slated to begin next October will cost the company $540,000 each year over the next 20 years.

- The City of Westbrook's municipal solid waste tipping fees, described by Bryant as the cost of disposing the city's trash, will be reduced from $94.50 per ton to $68.50 per ton. According to Bryant, the $55,250 savings this reduction in tipping fees will generate is an estimate based on the city's current volume of trash (6,500 ton), coupled with the anticipation that the city's volume of waste will be reduced by 20-25% as a result of the recycling program.

- Casella Waste Systems has agreed to fund the construction of a left-turn lane and related road improvements on County Road. Westbrook City Engineer Eric Dudley estimates the cost of the construction to be $317,483, according to Bryant.

- The City of Westbrook has agreed to pay for an extension of the public sewer line on County Road. According to Bryant, the sewer line currently ends at Ledgeview Drive, so the City will extend it 850 feet to the current entrances of Winward Petroleum and to the proposed entrance of Casella's proposed development at 610 County Road. Bryant writes that City Engineer Eric Dudley has estimated the cost of the sewer extension to be $258,063.

- And finally, according to Bryant, all the buildings, equipment, and land involved with the Casella project will be taxable. Moreover, Bryant writes, "[t]he 70+ acre parcel is currently assessed at $841,500 with a 2008/09 property tax bill of $12,984.35," but he's unable to project what the new property value and tax bill will be after construction.

The Westbrook City Council will vote on final approval for the agreement on Monday, September 22.

- John C.L. Morgan

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