Oxford County Regional Recycling asks for help from town managers
A struggling Oxford County Regional Recycling is looking to Bethel-area town managers to help plot a course for the future, in the wake of a changing market for recyclables.
OCRR processes recyclables and sells them on the market.
Woodstock selectman and OCRR board member Steve Bies briefed his selectboard last week on the county organization’s situation.
“We’ve kind of hit a crisis point. We lost about 300 tons of cardboard from businesses in Bethel and Newry,” he said.
The contractors hauling the cardboard are apparently selling it themselves rather than bringing it to the Norway-based transfer station, he said.
And in the bigger picture, said Bies, “the market hasn’t returned after the crash of 2008.”
He also said some towns have switched to single stream recycling, which takes the materials directly to a processor outside Oxford County.
There are currently about a dozen towns in the organization.
Now the board is proposing that several town managers among the member towns join the board as "alternates" on a temporary basis to figure out what to do next.
“Single stream is in the mix, closing down is in the mix,’ Bies said.
He asked Woodstock Town Manager Vern Maxfield to serve for a year to a year and a half.
Maxfield agreed, and selectmen approved.
Greenwood Town Manager Kim Sparks and Bethel Town Manager Jim Doar will also serve on the board.
Bethel trash to G&W?
In another solid waste-related issue, Woodstock selectmen discussed the possibility of opening up the Greenwood-Woodstock Transfer Station to residents of other area towns.
“We have a lot of Bethel residents close to us and it would be much more effciient for them to deposit their trash in our station than go [almost] all the way to Newry,” said Selectman Rick Young.
Specifically, there are homes on the Gore Road that are in Bethel that would be more conveniently served by the G&W.
Bies and Greenwood selectman Fred Henderson came up with a cost calculation that might be used to set up a possible exchange among the towns. The idea will be further discussed by the G&W board.
Woodstock Wind ordinance
Tom Carroll of Patriot Renewables and attorney Gordon Smith met with the Woodstock selectboard to discuss the possibility of amending the town’s new wind power ordinance to allow the company to one day use newer technology at its Spruce Mountain Wind site.
They said new technology is trending toward larger, but fewer, wind turbines for projects, which would each generate more megawatts.
Although each individual turbine would also generate more noise, the overall noise produced would be less, the men said.
That, they said, would be good for wind neighbors.
But the ordinance requirements as written are “prohibitive” for that to happen, Smith said.
He proposed changing a section on “applicability” to state that the ordinance applies to “any proposed expansions to pre-existing CWEFs (commercial wind energy facilities), including, but not limited to, constructing a greater number of towers or turbines or increasing the project’s overall noise footprint.”
The current wording is: “ applies to any proposed expansions or major changes to pre-existing CWEF’s, including, but not limited to, constructing additional towers or turbines, upgrading megawatt capacity, and thus the noise, of any turbines, or increasing the height of any towers or blades.”
Selectmen agreed that the Planning Board should take on the task of evaluating possible word changes, and that there is no rush to complete that task.
Marcel Polak of the Woodstock Conservation Commission brought three proposals to the selectboard for a hydrological study of the Route 26 Roadside Spring.
The study would determine what protections might be needed to preserve the spring over the long term.
Polak recommended consultant St. Germain-Collins of Westbrook with a bid of $2,900, the cheapest among those offered.
He said a grant is available to pay for part of the work, with the remaining $1,450 to be made up by the town.
The board discussed whether one of two available funds would be appropriate to use for that purpose.
An $80,000 fund that came from Patriot Renewables is to be used soley for land conservation, Polak said, and a clear definition of conservation was needed.
Another option is an account containing approximately $30,000 is funded through fees paid by developers applying for projects, generally for the benefit of the town.
The board eventually agreed to have the Planning Board make a recommendation on which fund to use, to bring back to selectmen.
Selectman Ron Deegan proposed that the town rent, on an annual basis for one month, an excavator to aid the Highway Department with its roadwork.
Having the machine would make the work more efficient, he said, and save wear and tear on the town’s backhoe.
Young estimated the rental cost at $3,500-4,000, and the board agreed to consider it for next year’s budget.
In other road-related business, the board approved a bid from Hadley’s for $14,375 for winter sand. The other bidder was Richard Tibbetts at $14,300.
But they rejected a bid of $41,470 from D.A. Wilson to rebuild 800 feet of the Billings Hill Road. They decided instead to look into having the town do the work with the rented excavator.
The funds earmarked for Billings Hill will instead be used to pave the Gore and Dudley roads and part of the Curtis Hill Road.