Less debris at the dump means big budget shortfall in Rockland

Posted Sept. 03, 2014, at 8:50 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — City councilors wrestled Wednesday night with how to dig the city out of a big financial hole at the city’s quarry dump.

City Manager Tom Luttrell told councilors at their meeting that the city took in far less demolition debris from contractors outside Rockland during the budget year that ended June 30. The lack of disposal by outside contractors meant the city took in $436,320 less in revenue than it had projected for the 2013-14 budget.

Former city attorney Barry Faber spoke out during the public comment session of the meeting and criticized councilors for a lack of accountability. Faber has been critical in the past of the city’s contracts with outside contractors, saying that it was offered dumping rights at well below market levels and that when companies defaulted on payments, the city did not collect the full amounts owed.

Luttrell told councilors that the city had two options to fill the budget hole — cover it from the municipality’s general surplus or to take it from solid waste reserve accounts. The city manager recommended that the dump deficit be paid off by taking money from reserve accounts, including the account set aside for the eventual closure of the quarry landfill.

Luttrell said that the deficit was somewhat offset by the city spending less on solid waste operations than it had budgeted.

Councilors took no action Wednesday night and had no comments during the meeting.

At the meeting, several people criticized the council for voting last week to spend $17,000 to hire Dacri & Associates of Kennebunkport to oversee the search for a city manager.

Resident Steve Carroll said residents cannot afford the council continuing to write checks for such projects.

David Myslabodski criticized the council for spending money on a manager search firm while sewer lines and roads are crumbling. He also criticized the city for considering spending $295,000 for improvements to the parking lot in back of the Main Street block next to the wastewater treatment plant that is known as the Thorndike parking lot.

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