MACHIAS, Maine — Selectmen opened bids Wednesday night for Project Canopy work in the downtown area.
The town recently was awarded a $7,878 Maine Department of Conservation grant to plant more than 100 trees and shrubs. The bulk of the shrubs, Rosa rugosa, or beach roses, will be planted along the causeway on U.S. Route 1.
Other trees, including crab apple and honey locust, all about 6 feet tall, will be located on the Machias River green just south of the Machias River Bridge and at the Colonial Way green just before Burnham Tavern.
The only two bids received were extremely far apart and the board tabled action on them until Town Manager Betsy Fitzgerald could compare them with the bid specifications.
Bidders were Black Bear Lawn Care and Landscaping of Bangor at $15,211, and TRP Logging, Snow Removal and Landscaping of East Machias at $7,445.
A three-year maintenance package was put out for bid separately.
Also Wednesday night, selectmen reviewed a proposal by Machias Transfer and Recycling Center director Henry Chausse to purchase truck scales for the facility.
Chausse said that at least 10 trucks are using the facility and could benefit from the scales. Currently, recycling workers must unload each bag from each truck and weigh them individually in the recycling center.
“This is extremely labor-intensive,” he said, and added that if it were not for the help of inmates from the Downeast Correctional Facility, he could not keep up with the work.
“At one point last week we had the University [of Maine], School Union 102 and Coastal Maine General Contractors all backed up waiting to be weighed,” he said.
In addition, the town is at the mercy of scrap dealers when it comes to the sale of metals. “We have no idea what our metal weighs,” Chausse said. “We take what the dealers tell us.”
Chausse said he recently lost money when a cardboard broker claimed the center had shipped only 13.8 tons when Chausse believed it was 20 tons. “Without scales, we couldn’t prove it and we lost money,” he said.
Chausse said a 70-by-10-foot scale is estimated to cost $37,000. The purchase could be arranged as a lease-purchase for 12 months, and he said recycling revenues likely would cover the purchase cost. Ground preparation would be an additional cost.
Chausse said the towns of Machias, Eastport, Cutler, Whitneyville, Marshfield, Roque Bluffs and Lubec are participating in the recycling program at the Machias facility.
Chausse also announced that No. 1 through No. 7 plastics would be accepted at the facility, as well as rigid plastics, such as children’s toys and milk crates. He said he also found a broker for fish feed bags and already has three 1,000-pound bales ready for shipment.
“There is no question,” he said. “Our recycling is growing.”
In other business, the board authorized the immediate repair of sunken pipes in the middle of Center Street, with the hopes that the town will be reimbursed for the estimated $25,000 cost from federal emergency funds due to heavy rains.
The board also moved their November meetings to the first and third Wednesdays due to a conflict with holidays.
It also determined the town office would be closed all day Thursday, Aug. 20, to allow all the tax bills to be prepared and mailed.