East Millinocket awaits word on Dolby landfill offer

The Dolby Landfill along the banks of Dolby Pond near GNP's former East Millinocket facility.
Stephen M. Katz | BDN
The Dolby Landfill along the banks of Dolby Pond near GNP's former East Millinocket facility.
Posted Dec. 29, 2011, at 9:16 p.m.

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — This town is awaiting a response from Maine officials regarding its latest offer to help the state manage the Dolby landfill, Board of Selectmen Chairman Clint Linscott said.

Linscott declined to say what the offer entails, saying that state officials had asked town leaders to keep it confidential until they had a chance to reply to it.

“We have made an offer and we are awaiting a reply,” he said Thursday.

The Legislature agreed to assume ownership of the landfill with many misgivings last spring as part of what was described as the removal of a key element blocking the revitalization of the Katahdin region’s two shuttered paper mills.

Several would-be owners walked away from buying the mills, state officials said, because they feared the estimated $254,100 annual cost of operating the landfill and the estimated $17 million it would cost to close and cap the landfill and contain leachate from the Dolby II and Dolby III portions of it.

But state leaders balked at entirely assuming the costs, arguing that Millinocket and East Millinocket should help. Municipal leaders responded that while they were grateful for the new mills’ ownership, the towns lacked the funding, manpower, equipment or expertise to maintain the landfill.

Millinocket town leaders disclosed last week that they had offered the state a $50,000 one-time payment to help it operate the landfill next year in an attempt to end negotiations with the state over the landfill’s future.

The deal’s conditions include the state’s completely indemnifying the town of responsibilities, other costs, lawsuits or any other obligations that may arise in connection with the landfill; state acceptance of April 30, 2012, as the date when such payment shall be made in full, and Gov. Paul LePage’s support of a bill by Rep. Herbert Clark, D-Millinocket, to have the state fund landfill operating costs beginning July 1, 2012.

That offer is pending, Millinocket town officials said Wednesday.

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