The Woolwich selectboard on Wednesday voted unanimously to move a planned special town meeting scheduled for July 17 to Sept. 5.

The meeting is needed to determine whether the town will act on a 10-year contract proposed by ecomaine to replace the current year-to-year contract with the nonprofit the town is currently operating under.

“We didn’t really hear anything specific about this until the last week of June. We initially thought, because the originally contract ends July 1, that we had to do something right away,” said Selectwoman Allison Hepler. “It turned out that ecomaine was willing to work with us on a time frame that didn’t seem so rushed. So that’s why.”

Ecomaine has extended the current contract, which was supposed to expire July 1, for an additional 60 days to give the town more time to come to a decision.

Ecomaine recently approached the town with the extended contract after it had received significant interest in its services. With limited space at its plant, the company is seeking longterm contracts to ensure that it will have room for continued service for the town in the future.

“Landfill space is a problem in Maine, and it’s not going to get any better. Nobody wants to have them,” said Hepler. “This would guarantee us space for our stuff.”

The decision to postpone the special town meeting comes after a Monday workshop between the selectboard, the Woolwich Solid Waste, Recycling, and Compostables Committee and representatives of ecomaine and Riverside Disposal, which transports the town’s materials.

Besides the time frame, the terms of the contract remain essentially the same under the new deal.

“A 10-year contract, which is what ecomaine is proposing, holds the tipping fees for solid waste at our current price of $57.80/ton, plus an annual CPI-U increase for the next three years, at which time it would increase to $70.50 plus 3 years’ worth of CPI-U increases. The tipping fee for the remaining years of the contract would then continue to rise based on the annual CPI-U,” explained Hepler in a statement.

As required by law, the special town meeting slated for next Monday will be opened, only to be immediately closed. A warrant for the Sept. 5 meeting has not yet been issued.

Leading up to the Sept. 5 decision, the Solid Waste, Recycling, and Compostables Committee plans to hold a number of informal meetings to engage and educate the public.

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